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Iran president says he’s receptive if US wants to talk

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the “road is not closed” if the U.S. wants negotiations with Iran and returns to the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

Rouhani spoke during a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

He did not explicitly name the United States but referred to Washington by saying: “The road is not closed for them, whenever they put aside their cruel sanctions and return to the negotiation table that they left.”

Rouhani’s website also quoted him as saying that if the U.S. chooses “another way and returns to justice and law, the Iranian nation will keep the road open to you.”

The U.S. last year pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran.

Iran’s official news agency says Russia’s deputy foreign minister is visiting Tehran to discuss the increasingly unraveling nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

IRNA says Sergey Ryabkov met his Iranian counterpart, Abbas Araghchi, on Wednesday. It says they discussed the deal as well as bilateral ties, regional and international issues.

The visit comes as tensions have escalated in the Persian Gulf region amid a crisis between Washington and Iran.

America has deployed an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the region over the escalation. Countries such as Iraq and Japan have offered to mediate in the crisis. Iran says it will wait and monitor the developments in the region before deciding about the offer.

President Donald Trump’s national security adviser says there was a failed attack recently on the Saudi oil-port city of Yanbu.

The comments by John Bolton on Wednesday came during a briefing to journalists in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi.

Bolton’s remarks mark the first time anyone has alleged that Yanbu was targeted during the ongoing Persian Gulf crisis.

Yanbu is the terminus, the final point, of Saudi Arabia’s east-west pipeline. That pipeline was recently targeted by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in a coordinated drone attack.

Bolton said he suspected Iran was behind the failed attack, but did not elaborate.

Officials in Saudi Arabia could not be immediately reached for comment.

Bolton also said that there’s “no reason” for Iran to breach the terms of its nuclear deal with world powers other than to seek atomic weapons.

He said: “There’s no reason for them to do it unless it is to reduce the breakout time to nuclear weapons.”

Bolton also claims that four oil tankers Emirati officials alleged were sabotaged off the coast of Fujairah were attacked “almost certainly by Iran.” He declined to offer any evidence to support his comments.

Bolton dismissed the idea there was any difference between his positions and Trump, saying: “I am the national security adviser, not the national security decision-maker.”

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