Iran says cannot 'interact' with US

Iran cannot "interact" with the United States as it is a country whose word cannot be trusted, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

"The first experience is that the government of the Islamic Republic cannot interact with America... Why? Because America is not committed to its promises," Press TV quoted him in English as saying.

His comments came after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday outlined 12 tough conditions from Washington for any new nuclear deal with Tehran, rather than proposing a re-negotiation of the old one.

The conditions addressed every aspect of Iran's missile programme and what the US calls its "malign influence" across the region, including support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah and Huthi rebels in Yemen.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani compared Pompeo's comments to those made by the administration of George W. Bush ahead of the 2003 Iraq invasion.

"The era of such statements has evolved and the Iranian people have heard these statements hundreds of times, and no longer pays attention," Rouhani said.

US President Donald Trump earlier this month pulled out of the 2015 nuclear pact aimed at preventing Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon despite intense diplomatic efforts by European allies

The international community, including top US officials, said earlier Tehran had been in compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal but Trump despised it, pointing to other aspects of Iranian behaviour not covered in the pact.

US-Europe compromise on Iran a long way off: German FM
Washington (AFP) May 23, 2018 - The United States and European countries remain "a long way from a compromise" on a new Iran nuclear deal after the US's withdrawal from the 2015 agreement, Germany's foreign affairs minister said Wednesday.

"We are still a long way from a compromise, we take two completely different paths," Heiko Maas told reporters after a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo on Monday presented a new US strategy on Iran following US President Donald Trump's controversial decision to pull out of the accord, signed in July 2015 by Iran along with China, the US, Britain, France, Russia and Germany.

That agreement lifted international sanctions in exchange for Tehran promising to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors.

Pompeo warned Iran would be hit with the "strongest sanctions in history" unless it adhered to stricter terms, including ending its ballistic missile program and its interventions in regional conflicts from Yemen to Syria.

On Wednesday, Maas highlighted the "great solidarity" of the 2015 deal's European signatories and the European Union in continuing to enforce that agreement while negotiating with Iran on an expanded deal.

France's foreign affairs minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, meanwhile warned that the US's approach risks further destabilizing the Middle East.

"The sanctions to be launched against Iran will not foster dialogue. On the contrary, they will boost the importance and power of Iran's conservatives and weaken president (Hassan) Rouhani, who wanted to negotiate," Le Drian told France Inter radio. "Ultimately, this stance is likely to put the region in further danger than it is today."

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Speculation mounts over US push for Iran regime change
Washington (AFP) May 23, 2018
Speculation is swirling over the prospect of US willingness to push regime change in Tehran, as US officials including Washington's top diplomat urge Iranians to "choose for themselves" their government. "The Iranian people get to choose for themselves the kind of leadership they want," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday after outlining a day prior aggressive measures designed to counter Tehran, including what he dubbed the "strongest sanctions in history." Pompeo has made similar comme ... read more

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