Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif Reuters

Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on Monday called the US sanctions on his country an “economic war”, and said there could be no talks with the United States until sanctions are lifted, Reuters reported.

“#EconomicTerrorism against Iran targets innocent civilians. Like this little boy, whose heartbroken mother can’t get him prosthetic legs as he grows. They’re sanctioned,” Zarif tweeted on Monday, adding a video clip of a woman saying the prosthetic leg her son needs is sanctioned.

Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the video.

“This is @realDonaldTrump’s ‘economic war’. And war and talks - with or without preconditions - don’t go together,” Zarif added in the tweet.

The comments come in response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said on Sunday that the United States is prepared to engage with Iran without pre-conditions about its nuclear program, but needs to see the country behaving like “a normal nation”.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani later responded to Pompeo, saying that the US “should return to normal state” in order for talks with his country to resume.

Tensions between the two foes have escalated in the past month, a year after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

Since then, his administration has imposed several rounds of sanctions against Iran.

In recent weeks, Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East in a show of force against what US officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests in the region.

While Trump has urged Iran’s leaders to talk with him about giving up their nuclear program, he has also made clear he could not rule out a military confrontation with the Islamic Republic.

So far, Iranian leaders have rejected talks with the Trump administration. Earlier this month, Rouhani said that he favors talks and diplomacy but not under current conditions.

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