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Iran's Zarif says 'no possibility' of talks with US: Kyodo

AFP logoAFP 5/16/2019 afp.com
Mohammad Javad Zarif wearing a suit and tie: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arriving to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on May 16, 2019 © Eugene Hoshiko Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arriving to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on May 16, 2019

Iran's foreign minister said Thursday there is "no possibility" of negotiations with the United States to reduce spiralling tensions, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported.

"No, there is no possibility for negotiations," the news agency cited Mohammad Javad Zarif as telling reporters in Tokyo, where he is meeting with Japanese officials.

Kyodo said the comment was in response to a question on whether he would be open to bilateral talks with Washington aimed at easing tensions.

It did not immediately carry additional comments from Zarif, but public broadcaster NHK also quoted the foreign minister as describing US pressure on Iran as an "act of suicide".

Zarif also reportedly dismissed US President Donald Trump's assertion in a tweet that Iran would soon seek negotiations.

"I don't know why President Trump is confident, but it's totally wrong," NHK quoted Zarif as saying.

The quotes on NHK were published in Japanese, and it was not immediately clear whether they were translated from English or Farsi.

The top Iranian diplomat, who met with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday, earlier accused Washington of an "unacceptable" escalation in tensions, and said Tehran was showing "maximum restraint".

Washington withdrew a year ago from a nuclear deal with Tehran and re-imposed sanctions, prompting a deterioration in relations.

But the crisis has deepened in recent week, with the US deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bomber to the Gulf over alleged threats from Iran.

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