Iran says does not 'presently' believe in mediation with US

Gen. Qassem Soleimani the head of the Quds Force has told Iran-aligned Iraqi Shiite militias to “prepare for proxy war.”

Gen. Qassem Soleimani the head of the Quds Force has told Iran-aligned Iraqi Shiite militias to “prepare for proxy war.”

Tensions between Washington and Tehran soared recently over America deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf over a still-unexplained threat it perceives from Tehran.

Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have escalated since the latter announced it would reinforce its troops deployed in the Middle East among other reasons.

Speaking at a press conference in Tehran, Sharif said the Guard doesn't "support engaging in any war" while at the same time it doesn't "fear the occurrence of a war". He also warned the United States and its allies against a military conflict with Tehran, urging Washington to stop pressure on Iran and improve regional security.

Trump withdrew U.S. from Iran nuclear deal, officially known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), back in May 2018, re-imposing tough sanctions on Tehran.

"We are now repelling all the efforts of war against Iran, whether economic or military", Zarif said at a joint news conference with his Iraqi counterpart Mohammed Ali al-Hakim.

The moves are the latest spike since US President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark 2015 deal on Iran's nuclear programme and reimposed sanctions.

During the press conference, Trump also said that the United States was not seeking "regime change" - a term that he was reportedly "frustrated" with his advisors using, according to reports from senior American officials earlier this month.

Zarif in his tweet also blamed Trump's economic pressure on Iran for the regional tensions.

However, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, tempered his minister's remarks by saying that Iran would "wait and see" before deciding on any offers of negotiations.

He went on to say that the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified Iran's commitment to the JCPOA in 14 consecutive reports.

Washington says the latest reinforcements are in response to a "campaign" of recent attacks including a rocket launched into the Green Zone in Baghdad, explosive devices that damaged four tankers near the entrance to the Gulf, and drone strikes by Yemeni rebels on a key Saudi oil pipeline.

The newspaper said Gulf Arab nations are not buying Zarif's "nice neighbor routine".

"Nobody wants war in this region", the newspaper added.

Tehran has repeatedly denied the allegations, condemning the US' sabre-rattling as "psychological warfare" and expressing readiness to retaliate against a potential military operation.

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