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Iran’s Supreme Leader: No war or talks with US over sanctions

(CNN) — Iran’s Supreme Leader is standing firm against reimposed US sanctions, saying Monday there would be “no war, nor will we negotiate with the United States.”

“Beside sanctions, they [the US] talk about war and negotiations,” Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said in a speech published on his official website.

“They talk about a spirit of war to frighten the cowards,” said Khamenei, adding that they US played a “poor game” when it came to negotiations.

His comments come after the Trump administration’s first wave of reimposed sanctions kicked in Tuesday, following the withdrawal of the US from the Iran nuclear deal earlier this year.

The 2015 Obama-era deal, agreed by the US, Iran, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russi, restricted Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

But Khamenei’s comments also appear to contradict Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who last Monday said that Iran was willing to hold talks with the US to resolve the matter — something Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton dismissed as possible “propaganda.”

European partners stand by deal

European partners have stood by the deal, implementing measures to protect EU companies doing businesses in Iran, even as Trump warned in tweet they faced the fallout of US sanctions.

“Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States,” Trump tweeted Tuesday.

Some companies have already heeded that warning. Last week German carmaker Daimler announced it had suspended its activities in Iran “until further notice according to applicable sanctions.”

The collapse of the Iranian rial since Trump announced the US would pull out of the nuclear deal has already wreaked economic havoc, and the first wave of sanctions will likely hit the vulnerable economy further.

In Monday’s speech, Khamenei admitted that while the economy had taken a hit, this was largely due to domestic matters, rather than international sanctions.

Last week’s reimposed sanctions affect, among other things, the purchase or acquisition of US dollars by the Iranian government, the country’s auto industry and trade in gold or precious metals.

Another phase of US sanctions will be reimposed in November and will target Iran’s crucial oil industry.