The US imposed sanctions against five Iranian nationals and seven Iranian companies

The US imposed sanctions against five Iranian nationals and seven Iranian companies

USA pressure on Iran and its "long-arm jurisdiction" against companies in third countries is the "root cause" of tension with Tehran, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

They are the first restrictive measures since Tehran said earlier this month that it would increase enriched uranium levels to above those allowed under the terms of a 2015 nuclear accord.

What is not part of the equation are under-the-radar contacts between governments that diplomats and regional experts say are a key part of keeping tense relations from spilling over into a hot conflict that neither side appears to want.

Relations between the United States and Iran have worsened since previous year when Trump abandoned a 2015 global nuclear deal between world powers and Iran.

The US military shot down an Iranian drone that came within 1,000 metres of one of its naval vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, President Donald Trump said last night.

Trump remained open to negotiations with Iran without preconditions on its nuclear program and will maintain a tough economic sanctions regime on Tehran in the meantime, the official said.

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He cites the example of Iran's seizure in early 2016 of two U.S. Navy patrol boats with 10 crew members in Iranian coastal waters - a situation that under other circumstances could have easily led to a unsafe standoff or worse.

"Remember this, the ridiculous agreement made by President Obama expires in a very short period of time".

A video of the incident could be released by the Pentagon, the official said. -Iranian conflict have risen since May with several attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, Iran's downing of a USA surveillance drone and a plan for US air strikes on Iran last month that Trump called off at the last minute.

"The administration ought to use this as an opportunity to talk seriously internally about what it wants and to test the Iranian position, but I doubt that they will", he said.

On July 4, an Iranian oil tanker was seized by British Royal Marines off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory of Gibraltar on suspicion of smuggling oil to Tehran's close ally Syria in violation of European Union sanctions. Shortly after, several media reported, citing a source in the US Defense ministry, that the United States suspected Iran of seizing the Riah, which is affiliated to a UAE port and was being detained in Iran's territorial waters near the IRGC base.

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