Rouhani’s Response to U.S. Threats:
TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday the United States will not defeat Iran with economic pressure as he rejected talks with Washington, after President Donald Trump said Iran would call and ask for negotiations "if and when they are ever ready".
"The Iranian nation will not be defeated by America, the White House could not defeat the Iranian nation," he said during a visit to West Azarbaijan province in northwest Iran.
Rouhani referred to recently imposed sanctions by the U.S., which have made conditions for Iranians difficult, saying: "But at the end of the road, the victory is ours." The president called the U.S. a "bully" for its measures against Iran.
Trump restored U.S. sanctions on Iran last year and extended them this month, ordering all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own. Iran has repeatedly rejected any further negotiations as long as the United States remains outside the nuclear pact.
"Today's situation is not suitable for talks and our choice is resistance only," IRNA news agency quoted Rouhani as saying.
Trump said on Monday that Iran would be met with "great force" if it attempted anything against U.S. interests in the Middle East. He said reports Washington was trying to set up talks were false, but "Iran will call us if and when they are ever ready".
Iran has portrayed the hot and cold rhetoric as evidence Trump is being goaded into war against his better judgment by hardline aides such as National Security Adviser John Bolton.
"Right after threatening Iran, they were forced to say they do not seek a war," Rouhani said. "Iranians will never bow to a bully."
Iran's Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif warned the United States of "painful consequences for everybody" if there is an escalation in tensions with the Islamic Republic.
Zarif also accused the U.S. of "playing a very, very dangerous game" in an interview with CNN aired on Tuesday.
"There will be painful consequences for everybody (if) there is an escalation against Iran, that's for sure," he said.
Tensions have risen between Washington and Tehran as the U.S. has deployed a naval carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf over unspecified alleged Iranian "threats".
"Having all these military assets in a small waterway is in itself prone to accident particularly when you have people who are interested in accidents. So extreme prudence is required and we believe the U.S. is playing a very, very dangerous game," Zarif said.
Trump further stoked the fire in a tweet on Sunday that suggested Iran would be destroyed if it attacked U.S. interests.
On Monday Trump appeared to play down the immediate threat posed by Iran and said he was ready to talk if Tehran takes the first step.
But Zarif said that Iran is "not going to talk to people who have broken their promises."
He was referring to Washington's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal last year and reimposition of sanctions that had been lifted in exchange for Iran scaling back its nuclear program.
Rouhani said whenever Trump's administration threatens Iran, international and domestic pressure means "they regret it in less than two hours".
"All those with the responsibility of the world on their shoulders tell the White House that this was a very dangerous thing to say ... (and) the Pentagon's pressure makes the president apologize and say we don't mean to wage war or attack," he added.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday Iraq would send delegations to both Washington and Tehran to help ease the tension between them.
Washington abruptly pulled non-essential staff from its embassy in Baghdad last week, citing a threat from militias in Iraq.