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Rouhani: US asks Iran ‘every day’ to begin talks

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Iran President Hassan Rouhani attends during news conference in Rome, Italy, January 27, 2016. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

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

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.

Mr 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,” Mr 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 programme and its support of militant groups in Syria and Iraq.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took aim at US 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.”

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

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