Iran slams Trump after he asserts he’s not seeking regime change
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Iran slams Trump after he asserts he’s not seeking regime change

FM Zarif rejects US president’s claim Washington is only trying to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends a presser with Iraqi Foreign Minister in the capital Baghdad on May 26, 2019. (SABAH ARAR / AFP)
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends a presser with Iraqi Foreign Minister in the capital Baghdad on May 26, 2019. (SABAH ARAR / AFP)

TEHRAN — Iran hit out at the United States on Monday for “causing tensions” after President Donald Trump said his government was not seeking regime change and that he would welcome talks with Tehran.

The Trump administration was “hurting the Iranian people and causing tension in the region,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on his Twitter account.

“Actions — not words — will show whether or not that’s @realDonaldTrump’s intent,” Zarif added, referencing the US president’s Twitter handle.

Zarif also denied Iran was seeking nuclear weapons, after Trump said during a visit to Japan that “we’re not looking for regime change (in Iran)… we’re looking for no nuclear weapons.”

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “long ago said we’re not seeking nuclear weapons — by issuing a fatwa (edict) banning them,” the foreign minister tweeted.

In this picture released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a meeting with a group of the air force staff in Tehran, Iran, February 8, 2019. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Khamenei is said to have issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons in 2003 and has reiterated it several times since. However, Israel, the US and other countries have maintained that Tehran sought to develop nuclear weapons well beyond that period.

Iran is locked in a tense standoff with the United States which has beefed up its military presence in the Middle East in response to alleged threats from the Islamic Republic.

On Saturday, Zarif called a deployment of extra US troops to the region “very dangerous and a threat to international peace and security.”

US President Donald Trump boards Air Force One for a trip to a Montoursville, Pennsylvania, for a campaign rally, May 20, 2019, at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

It follows a US decision earlier this month to send an aircraft carrier strike force and B-52 bombers in a show of force against what Washington’s leaders said they believed was an imminent Iranian plan to attack US assets.

Washington says the latest reinforcements are in response to a “campaign” of recent attacks including a rocket launched into the Green Zone in Baghdad, explosive devices that damaged four tankers near the entrance to the Gulf, and drone strikes by Yemeni rebels on a key Saudi oil pipeline.

Iran has denied any involvement in the attacks.

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