Tehran, Iran, May 21: Iran on Tuesday rejected negotiations with President Donald Trump unless the US shows ‘respect’ by honouring its commitments under the disputed 2015 nuclear deal.
The remarks come in response to Trump, hardening his rhetoric and issuing threats against Teheran.
In an interview, foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told CNN that the US was ‘playing a very, very dangerous game’ by sending the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Gulf.
“Having all these military assets in a small area is in and of itself prone to accidents,” he told the US broadcaster.
He accused the US of walking out first on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, the deal limiting Iran’s nuclear capabilities in return for the lifting of sanctions.
“We acted in good faith,” he said. “We are not willing to talk to people who have broken their promises.” The deal was signed by the US, Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
Trump had earlier said Teheran should be ‘calling me up.’ But on Sunday, he tweeted, “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran, Never threaten the United States again!"
Mr Zarif asserted that Iran would not bow to these threats. “Iran never negotiates with coercion,” he told the CNN. “You cannot threaten any Iranian and expect them to engage. The way to do it is through respect, not through threats.”
He said there ‘will be painful consequences if there is an escalation’ but also added that Tehran was ‘not interested in escalation.’
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.’