Iran refuses Trump's offer of talks unless US shows 'respect'

Iran refuses Trump's offer of talks unless US shows 'respect'

Iran refuses Trump's offer of talks unless US shows 'respect' Izvor: JOHN THYS / AFP

Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has said his country won't negotiate with President Donald Trump unless the US shows Tehran "respect" by honouring its commitments under the disputed nuclear deal.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Zarif warned the US was "playing a very, very dangerous game" by boosting its military presence in the region.

Zarif criticized the US for sending the US Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Gulf. "Having all these military assets in a small area is in of itself prone to accidents," Zarif said. "Extreme prudence is required and the United States is playing a very, very dangerous game."

He accused Washington of walking out first on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, the 2015 deal designed to limit Iran's nuclear capabilities in return for the lifting of sanctions. "We acted in good faith," Zarif said of the deal, which was signed by the US, Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. "We are not willing to talk to people who have broken their promises."

Earlier this month, Trump said Iran should be "calling me up." But on Sunday the President hardened his rhetoric. "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran," Trump said in a tweet. "Never threaten the United States again!"

Iran would not bow to the threats, Zarif said. "Iran never negotiates with coercion. You cannot threaten any Iranian and expect them to engage. The way to do it is through respect, not through threats."

Zarif said there "will be painful consequences if there is an escalation." But also added that Iran was "not interested in escalation." Instead, he called for an immediate end to the "economic warfare" waged by the US on Iran, saying that sanctions were "depriving citizens of their means of livelihood."

"All we want to do is sell our oil," Zarif said, adding that the US was "just a bully preventing people from buying our oil."

He said US sanctions, which have hit the Iranian economy hard, "amounts to terrorism" on the country's citizens.

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