Tue, 18 Jun 2019

Iran has reiterated that it will not hold talks with the United States 'under any circumstances,' and urged signatories to a 2015 nuclear accord to fulfill their commitments as its patience was running thin.

'As long as the rights of our nation are not satisfied, as long as words don't change into action, our path will stay the same as now,' Keyvan Khosravi, a spokesman for the Supreme National Security Council, said on May 23, according to the official IRNA news agency.

'There will be no talks under any circumstances,' Khosravi added.

Relations between Tehran and Washington have plummeted since President Donald Trump a year ago pulled the United States out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran that curbed the country's nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling economic sanctions.

Since then, Washington has stepped up its rhetoric and reimposed sanctions.

European backers of the nuclear pact -- Britain, France, Germany -- have been trying to salvage the agreement, but Tehran has complained that the process is too slow.

The other signatories are Russia, and China.

Earlier this month, Iran said it was suspending several commitments under the deal, and threatened to step up uranium enrichment if European countries did not act to protect it from the effects of the U.S. sanctions.

Meanwhile, the United States has beefed up its military presence in the Middle East and Persian Gulf, citing 'imminent threats' from Tehran, prompting growing concerns of a possible military conflict with Iran.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused Washington on May 23 of trying to provoke Iran into a 'direct confrontation' by 'imposing sanctions, piling on such military pressure, and using aggressive rhetoric.'

Zakharova made the comments as Reuters reported that the Pentagon was analyzing a U.S. military request to send 5,000 more troops to the Middle East.

With reporting by Reuters, TASS, and AFP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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