Iran's Zarif says U.S. should respect Iran if it wants to negotiate: TV

FILE PHOTO: Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sits for an interview with Reuters in New York, New York, U.S. April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran will never succumb to U.S. pressure and if Washington wants talks with Tehran it should show respect, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday.

Tension between Tehran and Washington have risen sharply in recent weeks, a year after Washington exited a 2015 deal between Iran and world powers which curbed Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international financial sanctions.

“Iran will never yield to pressure from the United States … America should try to respect Iran … if they want to talk to Iran, they should show respect,” Zarif said in a speech broadcast live on state TV.

Trump has called for talks with Iran’s clerical rulers with “no preconditions”. Tehran has ruled this out, saying Trump should return to the deal if he wants to negotiate with Iran.

In an unprecedented step to up pressure on Iran after Tehran’s downing of an unmanned American drone last month, Trump imposed sanctions on Iran’s top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other senior Iranian officials.

Tehran called the latest sanctions “idiotic” and warned U.S. over violation of its airspace. Washington said the drone was in international skies when downed by Iran.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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