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Trump: U.S. won't lift sanctions against Iran for negotiations

By Allen Cone
Trump: U.S. won't lift sanctions against Iran for negotiations
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement coordination bureau in Caracas, Venezuela, on July 20, 2019. File Photo by Miguel Gutierrez/EPA-EFE

Jan. 26 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump said the United States will not remove sanctions against Iran before negotiating a new nuclear agreement with the Middle East nation.

After Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif gave an interview won Friday with German newspaper Der Spiegel, Trump posted Saturday night on Twitter: "Iranian Foreign Minister says Iran wants to negotiate with The United States, but wants sanctions removed. @FoxNews @OANN No Thanks!"

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He then posted the comment in Farsi.

On Sunday, Iran's Foreign Minister responded by tweeting: "@realdonaldtrump is better advised to base his foreign policy comments & decisions on facts, rather than @FoxNews headlines or his Farsi translators."

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The Iranian leader's tweet also included an excerpt from the interview:

"Der Spiegel: Do you rule out the possibility of negotiations with the U.S. following Soleimani's murder?

"Zarif: No, I never rule out the possibility that people will change their approach and recognize the realities. For us, it doesn't matter who is sitting in the White House. What matters is how they behave. The Trump administration can correct its past, lift the sanctions and come back to the negotiating table. We're still at the negotiating table. They're the ones who left. The U.S. has inflicted great harm on the Iranian people. The day will come when they will have to compensate for that. We have a lot of patience."

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On Jan. 10, the Trump administration formally announced new economic sanctions against Iran as punishment for missile attacks Tehran carried earlier in the week on two U.S. military bases in Iraq. The sanctions target Iran's largest steel, aluminum, copper and iron manufacturers, as well as eight individuals.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the sanctions also are intended to curb Iran's nuclear industry.

The missile strikes followed the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian military commander, In Iraq, on Jan. 2.

Iran announced on Jan. 5 it would remove limitations on enriching uranium. The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal had limits but Trump has removed the United States from the agreement. Remaining are China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and the European Union.

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