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Rouhani says Iran ready to improve ties with Gulf states

File photo: Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks about the nuclear deal in Tehran, Iran May 8, 2018 in this still image taken from video.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that Tehran wanted to establish close ties with all countries in the Middle East, where Iran has been involved in proxy wars with Saudi Arabia for decades.

“Iran is ready to work with regional states to preserve security in the Middle East … Our enemies, America and Israel, want to create division among Iranians,” Rouhani said in a public speech in southern Iran, broadcast live on state TV.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are backing opposing sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen, while Saudi Arabia welcomed President Donald Trump’s move to pull the United States out of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

Rouhani said the U.S. approach towards Iran was doomed to failure.

“We will not succumb to pressure from America and Israel,” Rouhani said in the southern city of Bandar-e Gonaveh.

Tehran has suggested it could take military action in the Gulf to block other countries’ oil exports in retaliation for U.S. sanctions intended to halt its sales of crude.

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