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Mon 27 May 2019 12:37 PM

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Trump says he's not looking to topple Iranian leadership

Iran is threatening to resume enriching uranium beyond levels permitted in the accord to pressure European leaders to take action to mitigate the US sanctions

Trump says he's not looking to topple Iranian leadership

US President Donald Trump said he isn’t pursuing regime change in Iran and his main goal is to ensure the Gulf country won’t develop nuclear weapons.

Iran “has a chance to be a great country with the same leadership,’’ Trump said at a joint press conference in Tokyo on Monday alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “We are not looking for regime change. I just want to make that clear.’’

Iranian officials have said that the raft of US sanctions against their country, which was tightened last month, is aimed at fuelling popular dissent in an effort to topple the leadership.

“I’m not looking to hurt Iran at all. I’m looking to have Iran say no nuclear weapons,” Trump said. “No nuclear weapons for Iran and I think we will make a deal.’’

Trump’s remarks come amid fears that rising tensions between the US and Iran could lead to miscalculations that would precipitate an armed conflict engulfing the Middle East.

Frictions escalated this month after the US claimed, without citing evidence, that Tehran was planning an offensive against American interests in the region.

The US has made a show of military force in the region, including the announcement Friday that it will send 1,500 additional troops and fighter jets to the region.

Iran has responded to the American moves by threatening to abandon aspects of the 2015 multi-power nuclear deal that remains in force despite Trump’s withdrawal a year ago. Iran is threatening to resume enriching uranium beyond levels permitted in the accord to pressure European leaders to take action to mitigate the US sanctions.

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