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story.lead_photo.caption Iranians burn a makeshift American flag Friday in Tehran during a protest after prayers.

TEHRAN, Iran -- A top commander in Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard said Friday that Tehran will not talk with the United States, an Iranian news agency reported -- a day after President Donald Trump said he'd like Iranian leaders to "call me."

The semiofficial Tasnim news agency quoted Gen. Yadollah Javani as saying that "there will be no negotiations with America."

He also claimed the U.S. would not dare take military action against Iran but did not elaborate.

The verbal exchange comes as tensions escalate between Washington and Tehran. The Trump administration sent the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and a bomber squadron to the region in response to unspecified threats by Iran against American interests.

On Wednesday, Iran threatened to renew some nuclear enrichment that had been halted under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers -- a year after Trump pulled the United States from the accord, saying it does nothing to stop Iran from developing missiles or destabilizing the Middle East.

But in a softer approach, Trump told reporters Thursday at the White House: "What I would like to see with Iran, I would like to see them call me."

Shortly after Trump spoke, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a written statement that reinforced Trump's tone. After repeating the administration's complaints about Iran, including what he called "40 years of killing American soldiers, attacking American facilities and taking American hostages," Pompeo appealed to "those in Tehran who see a path to a prosperous future" through modifying their government's behavior.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday gave European leaders a 60-day deadline to find a way to shield Iran from U.S. sanctions targeting its economy and oil industry. Otherwise, he said Tehran would begin to enrich uranium at levels closer to weapons-grade levels.

The next day, the European Union urged Iran to respect the international agreement curbing the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions, and added that the bloc aims to continue trading with the country despite U.S. sanctions.

The Europeans insist the pact is an important pillar of regional and global security but have struggled to preserve the increasingly unraveling accord.

Iran's National Security Council spokesman, Keyvan Khosravi, was quoted Friday as saying that Iran stands firm to withdraw from the deal unless a beneficial agreement can be reached with the EU.

Thousands of Iranians rallied after Friday prayers in support of Iran's ultimatum, many chanting traditional anti-U.S. slogans of "Death to America" and "Death to Israel."

The demonstrators burned U.S. flags and some threw fake punches at a protester wearing a Trump costume mask.

The Trump administration has not offered specific details of the threat presented by Iran that prompted the U.S. to dispatch the aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Middle East.

The B-52 bombers arrived at an American air base in Qatar, the U.S. Air Force acknowledged Friday. Images released by the U.S. Air Force's Central Command show B-52H Stratofortress bombers arriving at Al Udeid Air Base on Thursday night.

Others landed at an undisclosed location Wednesday in "southwest Asia," the Air Force said. The U.S. military in the past has described its presence at both the Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates and Al Udeid as "southwest Asia."

The Air Force identified the aircraft as coming from the 20th Bomb Squadron of Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

The USS Abraham Lincoln passed through the Suez Canal on Thursday on its way to the Persian Gulf.

Information for this article was contributed by Jon Gambrell of The Associated Press.

A Section on 05/11/2019

Print Headline: Iranian general says no to U.S. talks


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  • 23cal
    May 11, 2019 at 9:13 a.m.

    Trump needs a war of distraction. I guess some people don't realize we have whizzed away plenty of blood and money in the Middle East and it is acceptable to not start another war there right now.
    About "a year after Trump pulled the United States from the accord, saying it does nothing to stop Iran from developing missiles or destabilizing the Middle East." It wasn't designed to "stop Iran from destabilizing the Middle East", it was designed to stop Iran from developing nuclear missiles and despite right wing claims to the contrary, it was doing exactly that..........until Trump decided to unilaterally pull out of the agreement even though Iran was living up to its end.
    Some folks cannot grasp that stopping their nuclear development and stopping their "destabilizing the Middle East" are two entirely different things. Right wing war hawks weren't satisfied with an agreement that stopped the nuclear development, it wants an agreement which checks every box on their wish list including having Iran's religious leaders shine Trump's shoes and sing Christian hymns. If they can't have all of that with sugar on top, then let's get into another insane war in the Middle East. Can't have enough of that, can we?
    Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement in order to create exactly this situation. Bolton has been spoiling for a war with Iran since the 1980s.