Iran's Rouhani shuns Trump call for talks on eve of sanctions

Trump administration reimposes sanctions on Iran

The White House statement on Monday also said that those who "fail" to abide by the U.S. sanctions will "risk severe consequences".

Iran Air said on Saturday it was set to take delivery of five new planes from Franco-Italian firm ATR just before the renewed USA sanctions go into effect.

In a statement, Trump said the 2015 worldwide accord to freeze Iran's nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions was a "horrible, one-sided deal" and said it left the Iranian government flush with cash to use to fuel conflict in the Middle East.

In a televised address, Rouhani said there could be no talks as long as Washington was reneging on the deal.

"Our stated policy has not been regime change, it has been to modify the regime's behavior", an administration official said. "I don't have pre-conditions".

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a joint news conference as part of a meeting with Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at the federal chancellery in Vienna, Austria, Wednesday, July 4, 2018.

"We are always in favor of diplomacy and talks".

Rouhani said Washington would come to rue a move that had been rejected by other countries. "The US owes the Iranian nation for its intervention in Iran".

US President Donald Trump withdrew from the landmark agreement in May, and the US is set to reimpose sanctions in two phases - the first on Tuesday and the second on November 5.

Last month, United States officials familiar with the matter said the Trump administration had launched a communications campaign to foment unrest and put pressure on Iran to end its nuclear programme and its support of armed groups. Administration officials say Iran has used funds freed up by the pact to sow instability across the Mideast.

Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, pledged that his country "will overcome this period of hardship", dismissing the new round of sanctions as mainly psychological warfare. 73 yrs later - w/ vastly expanded nuke arsenal it refuses to dismantle in defiance of NPT commitment - USA militarism hasn't faded.

The sanctions are expected to take the form of a secondary boycott that would apply to companies and countries trading with Iran.

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The U.S. military's Central Command confirmed on August 1 it has seen increased Iranian naval activity. "U.S. hypocrisy knows no bounds".

Those sanctions go back in place on Monday.

The US was an original signatory to the agreement with Iran, along with Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the EU.

The UK, France and Germany expressed "deep regret" at the USA pulling out of the nuclear agreement, and have scrambled to rescue the deal.

There have been ongoing rumours that Trump and Rouhani could meet in NY later this month, where they are both attending the UN General Assembly though Rouhani reportedly rejected U.S. overtures for a meeting at last year's event. "It means that sanctions that are discretionary may never be applied", one senior European Union official said, adding that firms have rarely been fined under USA secondary sanctions in the past. The same day you (Americans) impose sanctions we open our economy.

Foes for decades, the United States and Iran have been increasingly at odds over Iran's growing political and military influence in the Middle East since Trump took office in January 2017. When Iran's military has lashed out or tested the USA in Syria, the United States has beaten them back emphatically, as has Israel.

"We are monitoring it closely, and will continue to work with our partners to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in worldwide waterways", said Navy Captain Bill Urban, the chief spokesman at Central Command, which oversees U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Speaking to reporters en route from a three-nation trip to Southeast Asia, Pompeo said Monday's re-imposition of some sanctions is an important pillar in USA policy toward Iran.

The Monday announcement marks the end of a transition period the administration gave companies to wind down contracts with Iran in order to avoid penalties.

USA sanctions against Iran's automotive industry, as well as trade involving gold and other metals, went into effect on Monday after Trump withdrew from the Obama-era nuclear deal in May.

Perhaps Trump thinks he can force some concessions by Iran in the next 90 days.

Also on Sunday, officials arrested Ahmad Araghchi, a vice governor in charge of foreign exchange at the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), and several unidentified individuals, according to the judiciary.

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