IRAN’S supreme leader has said any negotiations with the US “will bring nothing but material and spiritual harm”.

It comes ahead of an American-led meeting on the Middle East in Warsaw that is expected to largely focus on the Islamic Republic.

The comments from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were part of a seven-page statement read out word-for-word on Iranian state television. They also come two days after Iran marked the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington.

“About the United States, the resolution of any issues is not imaginable and negotiations with it will bring nothing but material and spiritual harm,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

The supreme leader went on to describe any negotiations as an “unforgivable mistake”.

MEANWHILE, the Republic of North Macedonia has officially replaced the Republic of Macedonia after the government gazette formally published the historic name deal with Greece.

The move opens the way for the renamed country’s accession to Nato and eventually the European Union.

The National:

As a first practical move, workers are replacing road signs on the border with Greece to reflect the name change, which ends a nearly three decade-long dispute with Greece over use of the term Macedonia.

Later, the country will change signs at airports and on official buildings, web pages and printed materials.

The dispute dates back to the country’s 1991 declaration of independence from Yugoslavia.

ELSEWHERE, the award-winning head of a Philippine online news site that has aggressively covered President Rodrigo Duterte’s policies has been arrested by government agents in a libel case.

Maria Ressa, who was selected by Time magazine as one of its Persons of the Year last year, was arrested over a libel complaint from a businessman which Amnesty International has condemned as “brazenly politically motivated”.

The National:

Duterte’s government said the arrest was a normal step in response to the complaint.

FINALLY, Germany’s Central Council of Jews is calling for action following a report showing a rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the country.

The Tagesspiegel newspaper reported that preliminary government figures provided at the request of the Left Party to parliament showed 1646 anti-Semitic crimes registered in 2018, up from 1504 in 2017.

Violent crimes rose to 62 from 37.

Central Council of Jews president Josef Schuster called for a “stronger commitment” from police, politicians and the judiciary.