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Iran to consider talks only if sanctions lifted, Khamenei permits

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DUBAI : Iran's Intelligence Minister has said Teheran and Washington could hold talks only if the US ended its sanctions and Iran's top authority, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gave his approval, state news agency IRNA reported yesterday.

"Talks with America can be reviewed by Iran only if (US President Donald) Trump lifts the sanctions and our Supreme Leader gives permission," Mr Mahmoud Alavi said on Wednesday. "Americans were scared of Iran's military power, that is the reason behind their decision to abort the decision to attack Iran."

Mr Trump said last month he had aborted a military strike to retaliate for Iran's downing of an unmanned US drone because it could have killed 150 people and signalled he was open to talks.

In reaction to US sanctions, Iran said in May it would scale back its commitments under a deal the US had earlier pulled out of. Teheran said on Monday it had amassed more low-enriched uranium than permitted. It said on Wednesday it would boost its uranium enrichment after July 7 to whatever levels it needs.

Mr Trump responded: "Be careful with the threats, Iran. They can come back to bite you like nobody has been bitten before."

An Iranian spokesman said: "By exiting the deal, Mr Trump has wounded the path of diplomacy. The best antidote to all threats is active resistance." - REUTERS