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USA imposes sanctions on Iran's foreign minister

USA imposes sanctions on Iran's foreign minister”

"Under current circumstances and if no action is taken [by the Europeans] we will take the next step [in cutting commitments]", said Zarif.

Trump abandoned the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and six world powers past year, arguing that he wanted a bigger deal that not only limited Iran's atomic work but also reined in its support for proxies in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon, and curbed its ballistic missile program. But the sanctions were delayed after State Department officials argued that would close the door to diplomacy.

However, the Trump administration is not closing the door to potential nuclear talks with Iran by sanctioning Zarif, who it does not consider a significant decision maker, a US official said on Wednesday.

"If Saudi Arabia is ready for dialogue, we are always ready for dialogue with our neighbours", he said. The two Arab Gulf countries view Iran as a regional menace and are at war with Iran-aligned rebels in Yemen.

Tensions have spiked between the rivals vying for predominance in the Middle East since Riyadh accused the Islamic Republic of carrying out attacks that damaged six oil tankers in the Gulf - an allegation Tehran has denied.

The state-run IRAN daily reported a seven-member delegation from Abu Dhabi met with Iranian border and coastguard commanders in Tehran in the first such meeting since 2013.

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Tensions have increased in sensitive Gulf waters following a series of mysterious attacks on tankers off the UAE coast and the Gulf of Oman.

The UAE is a close ally of Saudi Arabia.

The move comes just about a month after President Donald Trump said he was sanctioning Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Zarif responded to the news in a tweet.

"What if his people heard the truth, unfiltered, unabridged?"

Zarif, who speaks fluent English and has a ready smile and generally calm demeanor, "has the veneer, the masquerade if you will, of being the honest and reasonable interlocutor for the regime", the official said. -Iranian conflict have risen since May with several attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, Iran's downing of a US surveillance drone, and a plan for USA air strikes on Iran last month that Trump called off at the last minute. Saudi Arabia has emerged as a leader of the Sunni Arab world and become aligned more with the United States over the past decade, while Iran - a predominantly Shia nation also seeking regional dominance - has forged closer ties with Russian Federation and China.



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