After Trump Invite, Iran Commander Says


American B-52 bombers sent to the Middle East over what Washington describes as threats from Iran have already arrived at a US base in Qatar, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet on Sunday John Bolton had planned the U.S. withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear deal and a more aggressive approach even before the USA national security adviser took up his post.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on Saturday for unity among Iran's political factions to overcome conditions which he said may be harder than those during the 1980s war with Iraq, state media reported, as the country faces tightening U.S. sanctions.

MARAD said US-flagged ships were encouraged to contact the Fifth Fleet at least two days before sailing through the Strait of Hormuz.

The US took another step Friday to bolster its military presence in the Middle East, saying it will deploy additional Patriot missile defense systems.

Iranian navy commander Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi said Sunday that American forces must exit, according to ISNA.

A year ago, President Donald Trump repudiated a painstakingly negotiated agreement under which Iran has placed significant limits on its nuclear program.

On Wednesday Iran declared it would ease its adherence to the global nuclear pact that constrains its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Regarding the USA military deployment in the region, well-known Iranian MP Alaeddin Boroujerd told the Tasnim news agency American actions were not new, as these warships "have always been in the region illegally".

The combined remarks represent another ratcheting up of the bellicose rhetoric between Washington and Tehran, since Iran began a partial withdrawal last week from 2015 the nuclear deal.

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President Trump recently announced a fresh set of sanctions targeting Iranian industrial metals such as iron, steel, aluminum and copper, and moved to uphold a global embargo on Iranian crude oil to thwart the Islamic Republic's influence in the Middle East.

But a day after Trump made such a gesture, saying he'd like Iran's leaders to "call me", a top Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander said Iran would not engage in talks.

The Trump administration provided a direct line that the Iranians could call when they're ready to talk, CNN reported.

Speaking to CNBC in an interview to be broadcast on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the USA deployments came in response to intelligence about potential Iranian attacks and aimed both to deter them and to be able to respond if necessary.

"Our restraint to this point should not be mistaken by Iran for a lack of resolve", he said, adding however: "We do not seek war". "We hope the Iranian people will get what they finally want, and what they so richly deserve", he said.

They said that there can be no preconditions before any potential talks.

The State News Agency IRNA quoting President Rouhani said that the sanctions of the 1980-88 war era were only about the purchase of arms and that there were no restrictions on banking ties or the crude oil exports.

The Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has repeatedly called INSTEX a "meaningless" measure and "a bitter joke", adding that "Europeans should have stood up to the usa after it left the JCPOA and should have lifted all sanctions against Iran".

Washington has reimposed strangling sanctions on the Iranian economy since then.

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