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Supreme Leader tells Japan’s PM Iran won’t negotiate with US again

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Meng Tao/Xinhua/Zuma Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Iran will not repeat what he called a “bitter experience” of negotiating with the United States amid rising tensions between Tehran and Washington.

In remarks made to Abe during their June 13 meeting in Tehran, Iranian state media quoted Khamenei as saying he did not see U.S. President Donald Trump “as worthy of any message exchange, and I do not have any reply for him now nor in the future.”

Khamenei said Trump’s promise not to seek regime change in Iran was “a lie.” He said he did not believe Washington’s offer of honest negotiations with Tehran.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have increased in recent weeks — a year after Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

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Abe, carrying a message to Iranian leaders from Trump, has warned about the possibility of unintended clashes in the Middle East after he met with Iranian President Hassan Rohani on June 12.

Tensions were expected to escalate further after reports on June 13 of more suspected attacks against oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.

The United States has sent additional forces to the region in recent weeks after accusing Iran of threatening ships there. Iran has denied being behind previous similar attacks.