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Iran's Khamenei rejects talks with US over missile, nuclear programmes

Tehran: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a live speech on state TV on Friday, July 31, ruled out negotiations with the United States over Tehran's ballistic missile and nuclear programs, calling on Iranians to resist U.S. bullying.

Khamenei called the United States Iran's "main enemy" and urged Iranians to resist U.S. pressure. He ruled out negotiations with Washington saying Trump would use talks for propaganda as he did with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "At the negotiating table, America wants us to abandon our nuclear industry altogether, reduce our defence capabilities and relinquish our regional influence," Khamenei said in a televised speech marking the Muslim religious holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Since pulling out of the nuclear deal, Washington has reimposed sanctions that have sharply lowered Tehran's oil exports. It is pursuing a "maximum pressure" policy aimed at forcing Tehran to negotiate a broader deal that further limits its nuclear work, ends its missile program and its support for proxy forces in a regional power struggle with U.S.-backed Gulf Arabs.
Relations between Tehran and Washington have deteriorated since 2018 when U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with six powers under which Tehran agreed to curtail its nuclear program in return for the lifting of most international sanctions. Iran's clerical rulers have tried to prevent a revival of anti-government unrest that have shaken the country in recent years and that began with protests over economic hardship but turned political, with demonstrators demanding top officials step down. Authorities have said street protests will be dealt with "decisively".

In addition to the U.S. sanctions, Iran's economy has been hit by a fall in oil prices, as well as the coronavirus crisis: Iran has one of the highest death tolls in the Middle East from the pandemic.

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