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Khamenei aide says no talks with U.S.

Reuters GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) — The top military adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Tehran would not negotiate with the United States under any circumstances, an apparent hardening of its position as the Gulf tanker crisis escalates.

The Swedish operator of a British-flagged oil tanker seized by Iran in the Gulf last week said it had been able to speak to crew members and all 23 of them were safe.

“We had direct contact with the crew on board the vessel last night by telephone and they’re all okay and in good health and they’re getting good cooperation with the Iranians on board,” Stena Bulk spokesman Pat Adamson said.

The company said it had no evidence that the ship had been involved in a collision, one of the reasons Iran has cited for sending commandos to capture it last Friday.

The tough remarks by Khamenei’s aide, Hossein Dehghan, a senior commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards whose views are seen as reflecting those of Khamenei, appeared to take a firm line in response to Western proposals to beef up security in the Strait of Hormuz in the wake of the seizure of the ship.

Dehghan said Iran would take action if the status of the strait were altered, and that no country would be allowed to ship oil through it unless all countries can.Speech

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