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Elham AbolFateh

World

U.S. prods Iran for talks to ease Gulf tensions; Tehran dismisses sanctions threat

Sunday 23/June/2019 - 07:45 PM
Sada El Balad
Edited by: Mohamed Emad

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he was not seeking war with Tehran after a senior Iranian military commander warned any conflict in the Gulf region could spread uncontrollably and threaten the lives of U.S. troops، according to Reuters.

Tensions remain high between longtime foes Iran and the United States after Trump said on Friday that he called off a military strike to retaliate for Iran’s downing of an unmanned U.S. drone out of concern it would have been a disproportionate response.

“I’m not looking for war،” Trump said on NBC’s Meet the Press program.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo repeated to reporters on Sunday that Washington wanted talks with Tehran.

“We’re prepared to negotiate with no preconditions،” he said. “They know precisely how to find us. I am confident that at the very moment they’re ready to truly engage with us we’ll be able to begin these conversations. I’m looking forward to that day.”

Pompeo also said “significant” sanctions on Iran would be announced on Monday aimed at further choking off resources that Tehran uses to fund its activities in the region.

“We are going to deny them the resources they need to do that، thereby keeping American interests and American people safe all around the world،” Pompeo said before leaving to travel for talks on Iran with U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Another source of regional tension is the war in Yemen - Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi group killed one person and wounded seven on Sunday in an attack on a civilian airport in Saudi Arabia. A Western-backed Sunni Muslim coalition led by the Saudis and the UAE intervened in Yemen in 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognized government that was ousted from power by the Houthis in late 2014.

Trump has indicated that he would also be prepared to seek a deal to bolster Iran’s flagging economy، an apparent move to defuse tensions.

“I think they want to negotiate. And I think they want to make a deal. And my deal is nuclear. Look، they’re not going to have a nuclear weapon،” Trump said.

Iran played down the impact of any new U.S. sanctions. They were “just propaganda، as all sanctions... have been imposed and there are no more sanctions left،” state-run news agency IRIB quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi as saying.

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