US President Donald Trump has suggested he was open to a new comprehensive deal with Iran, saying that till then the toughest-ever sanctions on the Middle-East country that kicks off on Monday would continue.
"The United States remains open to reaching a new, more comprehensive deal with Iran that forever blocks its path to a nuclear weapon, addresses the entire range of its malign actions, and is worthy of the Iranian people," Trump said in a presidential statement late Friday night.
"Until then, our historic sanctions will remain in full force," he said, hours after his two Cabinet members, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, announced that the US would reimpose a series of crippling sanctions on Iran beginning Monday.
In his presidential statement, Trump called on the regime to abandon its nuclear ambitions, change its "destructive behaviour", respect the rights of its people, and return in good faith to the negotiating table.
It was in May, Trump had announced that the US had withdraw from what he described as "the horrible, one-sided" Iran nuclear deal.
"On Monday, November 5, the termination of United States participation in the Iran nuclear deal will be complete. The last set of sanctions lifted under the terrible nuclear deal will come back into force, including powerful sanctions on Iran's energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors, and sanctions targeting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran and sanctioned Iranian banks," the president said.
"Our objective is to force the regime into a clear choice: either abandon its destructive behaviour or continue down the path toward economic disaster," he added.
Later a senior State Department official told reporters that the US was ready for talks with Iran.
"Secretary Pompeo has been very clear that we have an ear open to what is possible. We very much want to begin work on a new and better deal to replace the insufficient Iran nuclear deal that the president left in May, and our campaign of maximum economic pressure is a critical tactic to achieve that goal," Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said.
(With inputs from agencies.)