TEHRAN 

Iran has turned down an offer from Russia to mediate between Tehran and Washington, ruling out the possibility of negotiations with the US administration.

Addressing a weekly press conference in Tehran on Monday, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Iran is “doubtful” about the US intention.

“We have no doubt about the intention of our friends (in Russia),” Khatibzadeh said, “but what is doubtful is the US intention.”
Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergie Lavrov proposed to mediate between the two adversaries amid escalation of tensions in the wake of US push to reinstate sanctions on Iran.

“If both countries are interested, we are ready to hold talks with the two sides to pave the ground for direct talks,” he said in Moscow. “We think it’s better to directly address differences and issues.”

In response to the Russian offer, the Iranian president’s chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, dismissed the possibility of direct negotiations with Washington.
“We have no intention of negotiating with Americans as we have already made it clear,” Vaezi said on Friday, adding that many countries have come forward with the offer of mediation.

The tensions between Tehran and Washington have seen a dangerous escalation in recent months, with the Persian Gulf region turning into a battlefield of sorts.

Iran has maintained that it will consider the offers of talks with the US administration if Washington returns to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and lifts sanctions on Iran.

“We have no problem (with negotiations),” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on June 24. “They (Americans) are the ones who broke the table”.
The US government had announced unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal in May 2018, followed by the reinstatement of sanctions.
In recent weeks, the US has upped the ante, seeking the return of all pre-2015 sanctions on Iran, after the UN Security Council declined to extend an arms embargo on Tehran.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the US would enforce sweeping sanctions on Iran as part of the “maximum pressure” campaign, despite the UN Security Council’s refusal.

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