Experts say Iran and its adversaries could benefit from the ongoing naval escalation and also question the timing of Thursday's attacks on oil tankers as Japan's PM Shinzo Abe was having a meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Iran will never repeat its "bitter experience of previous negotiations with America in the framework of the JCPOA,” the nuclear deal.
The first Japanese prime minister to visit Iran in 41 years, Shinzo Abe held talks with President Hassan Rouhani and is expected to meet Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini in hope to defuse Iran-US tensions.
Last week, Iran notified China, France, Germany, Russia and the UK of its decision to halt some commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, a year after the US unilaterally withdrew from the accord and re-imposed sanctions.
Both the US and Iran are reluctant to make the first move towards talks and if it remains that way a third-party should initiate contact before tensions reach a boiling point.
The latest sanctions targeting Islamic Republic's mineral sector comes as tensions are already high in the region after Washington's sent its aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf.
Part VI: The Power of the Revolutionary Guard - this is the sixth in a series of articles that looks at how the Iranian Revolution came to be in 1979, and where it has led Iran over the course of four decades.
Donald Trump's move to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organisation is part of a larger campaign to isolate and weaken Iran while strengthening Israel's position in the region.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani rejected the US designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organisation.
Designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a "terrorist" organisation could push reformists to the sidelines.
Part V: Traitors to the Islamic Republic - this is the fifth in a series of articles that looks at how the Iranian Revolution came to be in 1979, and where it has led Iran over the course of four decades.
The Iranian president met Iraqi president Barham Salih and Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Sistani is a sign to Washington in times where US officials visited Iraq frequently.
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