A top commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said on Friday that Tehran will not talk with the United States, an Iranian news agency reported, a day after President Donald Trump said he’d like Iranian leaders to call him.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted General Yadollah Javani as saying that “there will be no negotiations with America.”
The Iranian commander also claimed the US would not dare take military action against Iran but did not elaborate.
The verbal exchange comes as tensions escalate between Washington and Tehran.
On Wednesday, Iran threatened to renew some nuclear enrichment that had been halted under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers - a year after Trump pulled America from the accord, saying it does nothing to stop Iran from developing missiles or destabilizing the Middle East.
But in a softer approach, Trump told reporters on Thursday at the White House: “What I would like to see with Iran, I would like to see them call me.”
Shortly after Trump spoke, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a written statement that reinforced Trump’s tone. After repeating the administration’s complaints about Iran, including what he called “40 years of killing American soldiers, attacking American facilities and taking American hostages,” Pompeo appealed to “those in Tehran who see a path to a prosperous future” through modifying their government’s behavior.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday gave European leaders a 60-day deadline to find a way to shield Iran from US sanctions targeting its economy and oil industry. Otherwise, he said Tehran would begin to enrich uranium at levels closer to weapons-grade levels.
The following day, the European Union urged Iran to respect the international agreement curbing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions, and added that the bloc aims to continue trading with the country despite US sanctions.
The Europeans insist the pact is an important pillar of regional and global security but have struggled to preserve the increasingly unravelling accord.
Iran’s National Security Council spokesman Keyvan Khosravi was quoted Friday as saying that Iran stands firm to withdraw from the deal unless a beneficial agreement can be reached with the EU.
Thousands of Iranians rallied after Friday prayers in support of Iran’s ultimatum, many chanting traditional anti-US slogans of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”
The Trump administration has not offered specific details of the threat allegedly presented by Iran that prompted the US to dispatch the aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Mideast.
The B-52 bombers arrived at an American air base in Qatar, the US Air Force acknowledged Friday. Images released by the US Air Force’s Central Command show B-52H Stratofortress bombers arriving at al-Udaid Air Base in Qatar on Thursday night.
Others landed at an undisclosed location Wednesday in “southwest Asia,” the Air Force said.
The US military in the past has described its presence at both the al-Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates and al-Udaid as “southwest Asia.”
The Air Force identified the aircraft as coming from the 20th Bomb Squadron of Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.
Iran cleric says US ‘fleet can be destroyed with one missile’A senior Iranian cleric said in a Friday prayers sermon that the United States’ navy fleet could be “destroyed with one missile,” as ... Middle East
Iran says it wants to bring nuclear deal back on track, strengthen itIran wants to bring its nuclear deal with world powers “back on track” after the US unilateral withdrawal, the spokesman of the Atomic ... Middle East
European powers reject Iran ‘ultimatums’ on nuclear dealEuropean powers said Thursday that they still backed the nuclear deal with Iran, but rejected any “ultimatums” from Tehran to keep it ... Middle East
Trump announces sanctions on Iran’s steel and mining industriesUS President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced sanctions against Iran’s steel and mining sectors, hours after Tehran said it would suspend ... World News