US urging talks while 'holding gun' at Iran: Iranian military official

Demonstrators burn a US flag to show their support of Iran's decision to pull out from some part of the nuclear deal in Teheran on May 10, 2019.
Demonstrators burn a US flag to show their support of Iran's decision to pull out from some part of the nuclear deal in Teheran on May 10, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

DUBAI (REUTERS) - A senior Iranian military official has accused US President Donald Trump of dishonesty, saying Washington is calling for talks while "holding a gun" at Teheran, the semi-official news agency Mehr reported on Friday (May 17).

Mr 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 US Navy and Air Force presence in the Gulf.

Iran has dismissed the US military build-up as "psychological warfare" designed to intimidate it, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said this week that Teheran 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 General Rasoul Sanai-Rad, a political deputy of the armed forces command, as saying.

"The behaviour 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," Gen Sanai-Rad said.