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Both Iran And U.S. Claim The Other One Blinked First

A copy Iranian daily newspaper 'Sazandegi' with pictures of Iranian president Hassan Rohani and U.S. President Donald Trump on its front page and a title reading in Persian 'Staring Down', April 9, 2019

Iran’s President Rouhani has claimed a rhetorical victory after President Trump expressed a willingness for talks with Tehran – a day after warning that the U.S. could destroy the country.

Speaking on Tuesday May 22, Rouhani said a Tweet by Donald Trump on Monday marked a retreat from talk of war that reflected the “strength of the Iranian nation”.

Rouhani claimed the move confirms Iran’s standing as a regional strongman and international player.

While admitting that U.S. sanctions and pressures have made the life of Iranian people difficult, Rouhani insisted that the imposed sanctions “cannot break the resistance of Iran”.

Commenting on the presence of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf region, Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif accused Washington of “playing a very, very dangerous game” in an interview with CNN, Tuesday.

“There will be painful consequences for everybody [if] there is an escalation against Iran, that’s for sure,” Zarif said.

In a tweet on Sunday, President Trump warned Iran would be destroyed if it attacked U.S. interests.

But on Monday President Trump played down the threat posed by Iran and repeated that his readiness for dialogue.

After weeks of tension it seemed both sides were claiming victory. Acting U.S. defense secretary Patrick Shanahan announced on Tuesday that the “threat from Iran has subsided as the result of an American show of force in the Middle East.”

Asked to elaborate the claim that the threat from Iran is “on hold”, Shanahan said: “There haven't been any attacks on Americans. I would consider that a hold.”

Shanahan added: “That doesn't mean that the threats that we’ve previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate.”

Although Iran has not attacked American targets but there have been attacks on commercial shipping and multiple missile and drone attacks in Saudi Arabia, that Secretary of State Pompeo says “quite possibly” originated from Iran.

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres, Tuesday, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Majid Takht-e Ravanchi, wrote the country “always rejected and continues to reject conflict and war”.

He added: “Iran will never choose war as an option or strategy in pursuing its foreign policy. It should, however, be obvious that if war is imposed on us, Iran will vigorously exercise its inherent right to self-defense to defend its nation and to secure its interests.”

Last week President Rouhani accused the US of “crimes against humanity” and claimed that Tehran had a history of defeating Washington.