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Why Iranians doubt the seriousness of Trump's latest offer of talks

US President Donald Trump's latest offer of talks with Iran has grabbed more attention than his previous overtures, but Iranian political elites agree that the offer is not sincere.
U.S. President Donald Trump walks towards reporters to talk as he departs for travel to Louisiana from the White House in Washington, U.S., May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria - RC1CA8FD5930

President Donald Trump expressed a willingness to receive phone calls from Iranian authorities on May 9, an apparent move to open dialogue with Iran only one month after his administration designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a "foreign terrorist organization." Tensions have simmered in past weeks, during which the United States deployed a Navy strike group and a bomber task force to US Central Command. According to US national security adviser John Bolton, the move was meant "to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force."

Two days later, on May 8, the anniversary of the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Trump imposed a fresh set of sanctions on Iran, this time targeting the country's industrial metals sector.

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