Trump's Iran policy focus of Hill briefings

Leader of the Houthi Revolutionary Committee Mohammed Ali al-Houthi

Leader of the Houthi Revolutionary Committee Mohammed Ali al-Houthi

Iran is open for talks and diplomacy but those avenues are closed under the status quo, with its economy being strangled by the U.S., the Iranian president said, adding that Tehran's only option now is to resist.

House Democrats invited Brennan and Sherman after the administration announced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Shanahan and other top brass, including Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, would appear for closed-door briefings Tuesday afternoon with both the House and Senate.

Iranian officials have repeatedly slammed the unilateral U.S. sanctions as "economic terrorism", saying that they have impeded the flow of essential goods. "Never threaten the United States again!" he tweeted on Sunday.

The Trump administration went on to pursue a number of efforts meant to scuttle the agreement, including the reimposition of US sanctions on Iranian oil, which went into full effect earlier in May. He added, "Try respect-it works".

"With Iran, we'll see what happens".

Iran has threatened that in 60 days it would resume enrichment beyond the 3.67% level unless remaining signatories of the deal - Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany - find a way to safeguard its vital oil and banking sectors.

As U.S. -Iran tensions escalate, there've been concerns that Baghdad could once again get caught in the middle.

"Within the White House there is a lot of conflicting opinions", Amir-Abdollahian said, naming Bolton among the "warmongers" advising the president. The article said "the new structure of the IRGC intelligence would focus specifically on the United States".

Iran foreign minister Javed Zarif and USA president Donald Trump. It's not for a president to say it and start it.

According to state IRNA news agency, Rouhani told clerics that there was consensus among the leadership that Iran would stand up to the USA and its sanctions. The US and its allies began enhanced maritime security patrols in theinternational waters of the Persian Gulf this week after Washington beefed upits Fifth fleet.

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His remarks preceded an interview with Fox News broadcast on Sunday during which the president vowed that he would not let Iran develop nuclear weapons but said he did not want a conflict. Tehran long has insisted it does not seek nuclear weapons, though the West fears its program could allow it to build them. Enriching uranium means concentrating the element's radioactive component.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks in Tehran, Iran, January 10, 2019.

Iran reportedly said Monday it increased its uranium enrichment four-fold, which would likely breach the stockpile limits the 2015 agreement set.

He was referring to Washington´s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal previous year and reimposition of sanctions that had been lifted in exchange for Iran scaling back its nuclear programme.

"I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons", he told his interviewer.

Trump past year pulled out of a multinational agreement negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama under which Tehran drastically scaled back its nuclear work in return for promises of sanctions relief. They have taken no serious actions to counter Washington's economic siege or military threats against the country. Trump's decision has made the Iranian economy, already in tatters, even weaker.

Just hours after Zarif's reply to Trump, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned Iran not to test the United States' will.

Saudi Arabia has blamed the pipeline attack on Iran. One missile was stopped over the city of Taif and the other over Jiddah.

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif soon responded by tweeting that Mr Trump had been "goaded" into "genocidal taunts". Two of the tankers were Saudi.

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