Iranian official: Trump 'holding a gun' while pursuing talks

Iranian official: Trump 'holding a gun' while pursuing talks
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A top Iranian official has reportedly accused the U.S. of “holding a gun” at Tehran while calling for negotiations. 

“The actions of American leaders in exerting pressure and launching sanctions ... while speaking of talks, is like holding a gun at someone and asking for friendship and negotiations,” Rasoul Sanai-Rad, a political deputy of the armed forces command, told the semi-official news agency Mehr on Friday, according to Reuters.

“The behavior of American leaders is a political game which consists of threats and pressure while showing a willingness to negotiate in order to present a peaceful image of themselves and fool public opinion,” Sanai-Rad added.

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Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said this week that his country would not engage in talks on another nuclear agreement with the U.S., saying such talks would be "poison." 

The White House, meanwhile, has delivered mixed messages on Iran this week. President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE dismissed a report that he was preparing to deploy 120,000 troops to the Middle East, but said he would send more than that if it became necessary. He has also said multiple times that he does not want to go to war with Iran. 

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Trump was frustrated with his top advisers, including national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonGadhafi's ghost still haunts US policymakers Trump job approval slips 2 points in Gallup poll Washington indecision compounded the Kurds' dilemma MORE and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoGOP lawmaker: Trump administration 'playing checkers' in Syria while others are 'playing chess' Trump-Graham relationship tested by week of public sparring White House officials work to tamp down controversies after a tumultuous week MORE, over their aggressive stances with Iran and wanted to speak to officials in Tehran himself.

Congressional leaders on Thursday received a confidential Iran briefing.