Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's top leader, on Thursday rejected any type of direct talks with the United States under pressure one day after Washington announced new sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

"American policy in the Middle East has been destroyed and Americans now need to play a new card. That card is dragging Iran into negotiations," Khamenei said in a speech before officials and military officers.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said last week that Washington is open to direct, bilateral talks with Tehran on the issue of Iran's nuclear program.

"You take up arms against the nation of Iran and say: 'negotiate or we fire.' But you should know that pressure and negotiations are not compatible and our nation will not be intimidated by these actions," Khamenei said Thursday, addressing the United States.

Various top Iranian officials earlier had expressed their satisfaction with Biden's proposal and said that Tehran would study it provided that Washington does not exert pressure on Iran and acts honorably.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday announced new sanctions to restrict financial transactions related to Iranian oil, among other measures.

Iran has been subjected to international sanctions by the United Nations and the European Union, the United States and other countries because of its nuclear program, which some governments suspect is aimed at building nuclear weapons but which Tehran claims is exclusively civilian and peaceful in nature. EFE