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Iran FM Says No Talks with US

Iran FM Says No Talks with US

Friday, 17 May, 2019 - 06:15
FILE PHOTO: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks to the media in Tbilisi, Georgia, April 18, 2017. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Iranian officials on Thursday rejected negotiations with the United States amid growing tension between the two countries.

In Tokyo for talks with Japanese officials, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said there was "no possibility" of negotiations with Washington. "I don't know why President Trump is confident," he told reporters.

Iran is committed to its obligations under an international nuclear deal despite the US withdrawal from the landmark agreement, he said, calling the reimposition of US sanctions "unacceptable".

Iran is exercising "maximum restraint in spite of the fact the United States withdrew from (the) JCPOA last May," Zarif said at the beginning of his meeting with the Japanese Foreign Minister.

He was referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed in 2015 by the United States, Iran and other countries, under which Iran curbed its uranium enrichment capacity and won sanctions relief in return.

President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement last year and is ratcheting up sanctions on Iran, aiming to strangle its economy by ending its international sales of crude oil.

He has sent an aircraft carrier group, B-52 bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East to counter what Washington calls a heightened threat from Iran to US soldiers and interests in the region.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that Tehran does not seek war with the US despite mounting tensions.

"There won't be any war. The Iranian nation has chosen the path of resistance," Khamenei was cited as saying by the state media. "We don't seek a war, and they don't either. They know it’s not in their interests."

Chairman of Iran's Strategic Council of Foreign Relations (SCFR) Kamal Kharrazi said Thursday that "no one in Iran is ready to negotiate with Trump."

In an interview with French television, he said: "We don't see any reason to engage in negotiations with the team currently present at the White House which is seeking to change the Iranian regime."

He added that Tehran "does not trust" the US administration.

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