Iran blasts new US sanctions: Offer of talks 'hollow'

Iran blasts new US sanctions: Offer of talks 'hollow'
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Iranian officials took aim at the Trump administration on Saturday following new U.S. sanctions targeting the country's Revolutionary Guard.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi argued the new sanctions showed that an invitation from President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren unveils Native American policy plan Live-action 'Mulan' star spurs calls for boycott with support of Hong Kong police Don't let other countries unfairly tax America's most innovative companies MORE earlier this month for Tehran to join the U.S. at the negotiating table was "hollow," Reuters reported.

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“It was only necessary to wait one week until the claim of the president of America about talks with Iran were proven to be hollow,” Mousavi said, according to the news service. “The American policy of maximum pressure is a defeated policy.”

The remarks came a day after the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions targeting Iran's largest petrochemical company, saying it had given financial support to the country's Revolution Guard Corps.

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have remained heightened recently following the deployment of U.S. forces to the Middle East and what a top U.S. commander said this week were ongoing threats from Iranian-backed forces in the area.

"It is my assessment that this has caused the Iranians to back up a little bit, but I'm not sure they are strategically backing down," U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Frank McKenzie told reporters Thursday, calling the threat "imminent."

Mousavi said last month that Iran's government sees no prospect of peace talks with the Trump administration and has accused the U.S. of going back on its word to Iran by exiting the 2014 nuclear agreement.

“Iran pays no attention to words; what matters to us is a change of approach and behavior," he said in May.

Trump, meanwhile, has publicly expressed doubt about the prospect of U.S. forces being used for regime change in Iran, telling reporters that he believes negotiations are possible.

“I really believe that Iran would like to make a deal, and I think that’s very smart of them, and I think that’s a possibility to happen," he told reporters last month.