September 8, 2018 / 6:11 AM / 3 months ago

Rouhani: U.S. asks Iran 'every day' to begin talks

GENEVA (Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that the United States continually sends messages to Iran asking it to begin negotiations.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a news conference with President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Vladimir Putin of Russia following their meeting in Tehran, Iran September 7, 2018. Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool via REUTERS

Tensions between Iran and the United States soared after President Donald Trump pulled out of a landmark nuclear deal with Iran in May, and then reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic last month.

Trump has said he would meet Iran’s leaders.

“From one side they try to pressure the people of Iran, on another side they send us messages every day through various methods that we should come and negotiate together,” Rouhani said in a speech broadcast on Iranian state television.

“(They say) we should negotiate here, we should negotiate there. We want to resolve the issues ... Should we see your message? ... Or should we see your brutish actions?”

Washington aims to force Tehran to end its nuclear program and its support of militant groups in Syria and Iraq.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took aim at U.S. criticism of Iran’s regional policy in a Twitter post on Saturday.

“Trump regime flip-flops are truly comical,” he wrote. “One week, its talking point is that we are ‘squandering’ our resources abroad, the next week it’s that we’ve not financially supported the Palestinians enough.”

U.S. sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector are scheduled to be reimposed in November.

Iran is facing an “economic, psychological and propaganda war”, Rouhani said Saturday, pointing to the United States and Israel as the Islamic Republic’s main enemies.

Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Robert Birsel and Kevin Liffey

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