01:20 GMT +321 August 2019
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    Trump Says Negotiating Deal With Iran 'Getting Harder'

    © AFP 2019 / NICHOLAS KAMM
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump said that making a deal with Iran is now harder than before.

    "Frankly, it is getting harder for me to make a deal with Iran," Trump told reporters on Monday during a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Oval Office.

    Trump said Iran is disrespecting the United States and Washington is ready for the absolute worst scenario, but is also "ready for sense, too."

    The US president called Iran a "very mixed up country," adding that "Iran does not know where they are."

    With respect to statements that Iran arrested a network of CIA agents, Trump said it is a "totally a false story" and went on to accuse Tehran for supporting terrorism.

    Earlier on Monday, the director of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry's counterespionage department said that Tehran uncovered a CIA network operating in Iran. The Tasnim news agency reported that the network was discovered on June 18 and some of the alleged spies have been sentenced to death while others received lengthy jail terms.

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an interview with WFTV 9 in Florida said that Trump wants to talk with Iran but also wants to change Tehran’s "behaviour."

    "The President has said that he’s happy to speak with the ayatollah, the leadership in Iran on the phone with no preconditions. The President firmly believes that talking and having these diplomatic exchanges to avoiding military conflict is the objective. But it doesn’t change the outcome we’re looking for," Pompeo said on Monday.

    US-Iran relations have deteriorated since Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear agreement, last spring. The United States proclaimed it intends to bring down Iran’s sale of oil to zero and re-introduced sanctions on almost all major sectors of the Iranian economy.

    In May, Tehran announced its own decision to partially suspend obligations under the JCPOA and gave the other agreement signatories - France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and the European Union - 60 days to save the accord by facilitating oil exports and trade with Iran. As the deadline expired, Iran said it would begin enriching uranium beyond the 3.67 percent level set in the JCPOA and warned it would gradually abandon its nuclear commitments every 60 days.

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    Tags:
    CIA, Oval Office, Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump, USA, Iran
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