United States officials say tensions with Iran are easing but they remain 'vigilant'

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The Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei vowed to "resist" the United States until it retreats, insisting that his nation isn't seeking war with the American people.

The United States has had no diplomatic relations with Iran following the hostage seize of the American embassy in Tehran that followed the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

US President Donald Trump withdrew from the accord past year and reinstated sanctions against Tehran, saying the agreement failed to sufficiently curb Iran's ability to develop nuclear weapons or halt its support for groups that the US says destabilize the Middle East. Iran has dismissed the accusations as groundless. Later, he added, "I would much rather talk".

Friction between Iran and the U.S. has risen in recent weeks after the U.S. sent a U.S. Navy carrier group to the Mideast after learning of threats from Iran against U.S. forces in the region.

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Iran and the United States have been drawn into starker confrontation in the past month, a year after Washington pulled out of a deal between Iran and global powers to curb Tehran's nuclear programme in return for lifting worldwide sanctions.

Trump said the agreement only stopped Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons for a short time. He also began reimposing USA sanctions that had been lifted under the 2015 deal and introduced even tougher sanctions aimed at pressuring Iran into negotiating a new deal to end all of its perceived harmful behavior.

The trip comes after Abe secured backing last week from U.S. President Donald Trump for his efforts to reach out to Iran, with which Japan has maintained an amicable relationship.

Last month, Japan formally expressed its concern over the mounting tensions in the Persian Gulf, and convened talks in Tokyo held between Abe and Zarif.

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It will be the first visit of a German minister to Iran in 2½ years.

In 2018 Washington withdrew from the nuclear agreement with Iran and tries to pressure Tehran with economic sanctions. Abe's trip also serves the purposes of Japan, which relies on oil from the Middle East and seeks US support for its pressing concerns in Asia, he added. "I don't think that the president wants to see nuclear weapons and neither do I", Trump told reporters ahead of a meeting with Macron in Caen. The U.S. also increased sanctions against Iran, particularly its metals industries.

Macron also said both Washington and Paris want to reduce Tehran ballistic missile programme and "contain" Tehran's activity in the Middle East and achieve peace in the region.

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