Tensions have risen since U.S. President Donald Trump past year abandoned the major powers' nuclear deal with Iran under which Tehran agreed to curtail its nuclear program in return for the lifting of global sanctions crippling its economy. "Iran and those who believe in our system will not leave such evil deeds unanswered", Khamenei said in remarks broadcast on television.
Trump said his decision not to carry out the strike in response to Iran's downing a U.S. military surveillance drone last month gained him "a lot of great capital", before noting that 'if something should happen, we're in a position to do far worse by not doing it'.
It said the French government was seeking information about Fariba Adelkhah and consular access to her "without delay" but added there has been "no satisfactory response to its demands as of today".
Speaking during a cabinet meeting, President Trump once again reiterated that the USA is not in any way seeking regime change in Iran, but rather that his entire goal is "they can't have a nuclear weapon". We'll help them in any way we can, but they can't have a nuclear weapon.
Mahmoud Vaezi, Iran's presidential chief of staff, also told reporters on Wednesday that "our defense power is our red line and we have announced for several times that we will not negotiate about it".
Zarif told NBC's Lester Holt in an interview published on Monday that Iran would consider talks under the condition that Washington halts all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both U.S. allies; however Miryousefi insisted the FM's comment should not be interpreted as an offer for talks. "And they have come to understand that they have a common threat, and they are increasingly finding ways to work together to keep each of their nations secure".
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However, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the move was not a violation of the accord, arguing that Iran was exercising its right to respond to the USA walkout.
In an interview with NBC News that aired earlier this week, Zarif said that if the USA wants to discuss Iran's missile development, it needs "first to stop selling all these weapons, including missiles, to our region".
"If you want to discuss ballistic missiles, then we need to discuss the amount of weapons that are sold to our region". The Islamic Republic has repeatedly ruled out negotiating under sanctions duress with Washington.
Iran has long rejected negotiations over its ballistic missile programme, which remains under the control of the Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guard that answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Low-enriched uranium, which has a 3-5% concentration, can be used to produce fuel for nuclear power plants. Speaking about the evolving situation in the region, he said: "The framework that had set the Middle East for so many years was the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and now the major destabilizing force in the Middle East is the Islamic Republic of Iran".
In June, administration officials made the serious allegation that Iran had attacked two cargo ships in the Gulf of Oman - only to see their account disputed by a captain on one of the very ships that was attacked.
Iran has called on Britain to immediately release its oil tanker, which was detained by British Royal Marines on the suspicion that it was breaking European sanctions by taking oil to Tehran's close ally Syria.