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EghtesadOnline: Tehran said on Monday it welcomes an easing of tensions in the Persian Gulf, while dismissing the impact of any new US sanctions and efforts to form anti-Iran coalitions.

"We welcome any reduction of tensions in the region. We are not seeking a rise in tensions," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi told a press briefing in Tehran, ISNA reported. 

Washington and Tehran nearly came to blows last week after Iran downed an American drone that had entered its territory. The US claimed its aircraft was operating in international airspace.

Mousavi said the standoff between Iran and the United States, which created jitters in the Middle East region, is rooted in America's breaches of promise and its "economic terrorism" campaign against Iran, according to Financial Tribune.

Tensions between the US and Iran, which cut diplomatic ties shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, have spiked since May last year when US President Donald Trump withdrew from the international 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reinstated sweeping sanctions on the country.

Trump pledged on Sunday that Iran's economy will soon face "major" new sanctions, a threat played down by the Foreign Ministry spokesman as "propaganda".  

"Are there any sanctions that they [the Americans] have not imposed on us recently, or over the past 40 years? What have they achieved through sanctions?" 

Mousavi said Iran regards the imposition of sanctions as a "hostile" act, but added "they are well aware that their sanctions have not been effective as Iran neither surrenders nor negotiates under pressure and sanctions." 

Asked about American officials' trips to the region to form coalitions against Iran and rally support for Trump's policies on Tehran, he said, "It is nothing new, but all their anti-Iran coalitions have been fragile and they have failed to achieve their objectives."

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi Arabia's king and crown prince on Monday, Reuters reported. 

The top US diplomat had told reporters before departing on a trip to Saudi Arabia and the UAE that Washington wanted talks with Tehran, even as it planned to impose new economic sanctions.

"We'll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned, and how we can build out a global coalition, a coalition ... that understands this challenge," Pompeo said.

In response, Mousavi said, "Iran is a powerful country and has a solid position in the region and the world, so forming coalitions against it is not an easy task."  

On contradictory statements coming from the White House on Iran, he said they are an indication of American officials' "confusion". 

"Iran pays no attention to words. What matters to us is practical steps and a change of US policies regarding Iran," he said, referring to Trump's claim that he is ready to engage with Tehran "without preconditions" while pressuring Iran to change its nuclear, defense and regional policies. 


Iran Tehran Persian Gulf US sanctions tensions Welcomes Defusion Persian Gulf Tensions