Trump rejects lifting Iran sanctions to negotiate

US President responds to Iranian FM saying Iran willing to negotiate if sanctions lifted, tweets ‘no thanks!’.
Sunday 26/01/2020
Trump has maintained that the 2015 nuclear deal needs to be renegotiated
Trump has maintained that the 2015 nuclear deal needs to be renegotiated

WASHINGTON - The United States will not lift sanctions on Iran in order to negotiate, US President Donald Trump tweeted late on Saturday, seemingly in response to a Der Spiegel interview with Iran's foreign minister.

"Iranian Foreign Minister says Iran wants to negotiate with The United States, but wants sanctions removed. @FoxNews @OANN No Thanks!" Trump tweeted in English on Saturday and later in Farsi.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded on Sunday by tweeting an excerpt from the interview with Der Spiegel published on Friday, where he said Iran is still open to negotiations with America if sanctions are lifted.

"@realdonaldtrump is better advised to base his foreign policy comments & decisions on facts, rather than @FoxNews headlines or his Farsi translators," Zarif said in the tweet with the interview excerpt.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have reached the highest levels in decades after the US killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad on Jan. 3, prompting Iran to fire missiles days later at bases in Iraq where US troops are stationed.

Tensions between the two have been increasing steadily since Trump pulled the United States out of Iran's nuclear pact with world powers in 2018 and reimposed sanctions that have driven down Iran's oil exports and hammered its economy.

Iran has routinely vowed to begin enriching its stockpile of uranium to higher levels closer to weapons grade if world powers fail to negotiate new terms for the nuclear accord following the US decision to withdraw from the agreement and restore crippling sanctions.

European countries opposed the US withdrawal and have repeatedly urged Iran to abide by the deal.

Under the agreement, Iran agreed to limit its enrichment of uranium under the watch of UN inspectors in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

Trump has maintained that the 2015 nuclear deal needs to be renegotiated because it didn't address Iran's ballistic missile program or its involvement in regional conflicts.

The other signatories to the nuclear deal — Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia — have been struggling to keep it alive.

Zarif did suggest Iran was also still prepared for conflict with the US, though was not specific.