Iran warns US to ‘show some RESPECT’ and warns it WON’T be pressured into negotiations

President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday suggested Iran may be willing to hold talks with Washington, but said Tehran would not be pressured into negotiations, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. He said: “”We are for logic and talks if (the other side) sits respectfully at the negotiating table and follows international regulations, not if it issues an order to negotiate.” Iran and the United States have been drawn into starker confrontation in the past month, a year after Washington pulled out of a deal between Iran and global powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme in return for lifting international sanctions.

Washington re-imposed sanctions last year and ratcheted them up in May, ordering all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.

In recent weeks it has also hinted at military confrontation, saying it was sending extra forces to the Middle East to respond to an Iranian threat.

President Trump said the 2015 nuclear deal was not strong enough and he wants to force Iran to negotiate a new agreement.

Some US officials have spoken of the possibility of new talks.

Referring to Iran, Mr Trump said on Monday: “It has a chance to be a great country with the same leadership… We aren’t looking for regime change – I just want to make that clear.”

Iran’s top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Wednesday Iran would not negotiate with Washington.

Mr Rouhani had previously signalled talks might be possible if sanctions were lifted.

In today’s speech to a group of Iranian athletes, Rouhani noted President Trump’s recent remarks and suggested they were a climb-down from statements last year that encouraged regime change in Iran.

He said: “The same enemy which declared its aim last year to destroy the Islamic Republic of Iran today explicitly states that it does not want to do anything to (our) system.

“If we remain hopeful in the war with America, we will win.”

The shift between the two nations comes after fears of open conflict soared yesterday when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the Middle Eastern state of being behind a series of attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.

Four ships were damaged by explosions on May 12, off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

One of those struck, the Norwegian tanker Andrea Victory, was later pictured with damage to its stern.

Mr Pompeo accused Iran of being behind the attacks in a bid to increase oil prices.

He claimed the incidents were “efforts by the Iranians to raise the price of crude oil throughout the world”.

Tensions grew between Iran and the US when President Trump withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018.

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