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Trump says he rejected Iran's request to lift sanctions

This combined file photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani. (Kyodo)

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- President Donald Trump said Friday that he rejected Iran's request to lift sanctions imposed by the United States in exchange for a summit meeting.

"Iran wanted me to lift the sanctions imposed on them in order to meet. I said, of course, NO!" the president said on Twitter.

Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had both been in New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly this week. No talks were held amid ongoing tension over the attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities on Sept. 14, for which the United States blames Iran.

Rouhani described the situation differently, saying Friday that Britain, France and Germany had urged him to meet Trump for one-on-one negotiations because the United States would "lift all sanctions," according to the Iranian president's official website.

He also suggested that talks did not materialize due to the "sanctions and maximum pressure" imposed on Tehran.

Under the current situation, even if Iran wanted to negotiate with the United States, "nobody can predict about the end and upshot of the negotiation," he said, emphasizing that it is the United States that is posing "obstacles."

The Trump administration has been pushing ahead with a "maximum pressure campaign" on Iran amid a standoff over a 2015 international deal to curb Iran's nuclear program.

The United States withdrew from the accord last year and has imposed sanctions on Tehran in a bid to negotiate a tougher deal that would address concerns over Iran's nuclear activities, ballistic missile programs and other issues.

Their confrontation deepened as the attacks on two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia cut the kingdom's daily production of crude oil by nearly half and threatened to disrupt the global oil supply. Iran has denied allegations that it was behind the strikes.

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