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FILE PHOTO: A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after a group picture with foreign ministers and representatives of the U.S., Iran, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, France and the European Union during Iran nuclear talks at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo
DUBAI (Reuters) – A senior Iranian military official has accused U.S. President Donald Trump of dishonesty, saying Washington is calling for talks while “holding a gun” at Tehran, the semi-official news agency Mehr reported on Friday.
Trump has said publicly he wants to pursue a diplomatic route with Iran after withdrawing the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, moving to cut off all Iranian oil exports this month while beefing up the U.S. Navy and Air Force presence in the Gulf.
Iran has dismissed the U.S. military build up as “psychological warfare” designed to intimidate it, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said this week that Tehran would not negotiate with the United States on another nuclear deal and such talks would be “poison”.
“The actions of American leaders in exerting pressure and launching sanctions … while speaking of talks, is like holding a gun at someone and asking for friendship and negotiations,” Mehr quoted Rasoul Sanai-Rad, a political deputy of the armed forces command, as saying.
“The behavior of American leaders is a political game which consists of threats and pressure while showing a willingness to negotiate in order to present a peaceful image of themselves and fool public opinion,” Sanai-Rad said.
Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Hugh Lawson