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Iran, U.S. tension is a clash of wills: Guards commander

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GENEVA (Reuters) – The standoff between and the United States is a “clash of wills”, a senior commander of ’s powerful Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday, suggesting any enemy “adventurism” would meet a crushing response, Fars news agency reported. 

FILE PHOTO: ian Revolutionary Guards speed boats are seen near the USS John C. Stennis CVN-74 (not pictured) as it makes its way to gulf through strait of Hormuz, December 21, 2018. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo

Tensions have spiked between the two countries after Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East in a show of force against what U.S. officials say are ian threats to its troops and interests in the region.

“The confrontation and face-off of the Islamic Republic of and the malicious government of America is the arena for a clash of wills,” ’s armed forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri said.

He pointed to a battle during the 1980-88 -Iraq war where was victorious and said the outcome could be a message that will have a “hard, crushing and obliterating response” for any enemy “adventurism”.

On Sunday, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted: “If wants to fight, that will be the official end of . Never threaten the United States again!”

Trump restored U.S. sanctions on last year and tightened them this month, ordering all countries to halt imports of ian oil or face sanctions of their own.

Trump wants to come to the negotiating table to reach a new deal with more curbs on its nuclear and missile programs.

Reiterating ’s stance, the spokesman for its Supreme National Security Council said on Thursday that “There will not be any negotiations between and America.”

Keyvan Khosravi was also quoted as saying by the state broadcaster that some officials from several countries have visited recently, “mostly representing the United States.”

He did not elaborate, but the foreign minister of Oman, which in the past helped pave the way for negotiations between and the United States, visited Tehran on Monday.

“Without exception, the message of the power and resistance of the ian nation was conveyed to them,” he said.

In Berlin, a German diplomatic source told Reuters that Jens Ploetner, a political director in Germany’s Foreign Ministry, was in Tehran on Thursday for meetings with ian officials to try to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal and cool tensions in the region.

Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh in Geneva, Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London, Editing by William Maclean

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