Iran's foreign minister appears unimpressed with Japan's offer to mediate in a crisis between Tehran and Washington, and says President Donald Trump should make his intentions clear about any talks with Iran through actions, not words.
The Iranian foreign minister, Mohamad Javad Zarif, made the chilling comments just days after Tehran warned it had "secret weapons" capable of sinking USA warships stationed in the Gulf region.
Tensions have risen between Iran and the United States since Washington deployed a carrier strike group and bombers and announced plans to deploy 1,500 troops to the Middle East, prompting fears of a conflict.
In response, Zarif tweeted: "Actions - not words - will show whether or not that's @realDonaldTrump's intent", Zarif added, referencing the U.S. president's Twitter handle.
Relations between Tehran and Washington have plummeted since the United States a year ago pulled out of a 2015 nuclear accord between world powers and Iran that curbed the country's nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling economic sanctions.
"I know for a fact that the prime minister is very close with the leadership of Iran, and we'll see what happens", Trump said.
That position changed when Trump brought into his administration more hawkish aides, including national security adviser John Bolton.
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At his joint news conference with Trump, Abe said Japan would do what it can on the Iran issue.
"They were fighting in many locations", he said of Iran.
Trump has argued that the deal failed to sufficiently curb Iran's ability to develop nuclear weapons or halt its support for militias throughout the Middle East that the US says destabilize the region, as well as address the issue of Tehran's missiles, which can reach both USA regional bases and Israel.
Tension increased after this month's attack on oil tankers off the UAE coast, and another on Saudi oil pumping stations and a pipeline.
Trump's announcement came at the end of his four-day state visit to Japan.
On Friday, a senior Iranian official said if America "commits the slightest stupidity" the country's Revolutionary Guards would not hesitate to conduct a counter attack.
Iran has said it has no interest in negotiations with Washington following Trump's pullout from the nuclear deal and the re-imposing of sanctions on Iran.
Iran has distanced itself from the bombings and on Sunday, Zarif said his country will defend itself against any military or economic aggression. "Now they are pulling back because they have serious economic problems". Japan was a major buyer of Iranian oil for decades before United States sanctions which Trump said were taking effect.