Rouhani rules out talks with US amid sanctions

TEHRAN, Aug. 28, 2019 (Xinhua) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech in Tehran, Iran, on Aug. 27, 2019. Iranian officials on Tuesday urged the United States to lift its sanctions against Iran to pave the way for talks on mutual issues. As the “first step” towards dialogue, the United States should lift all its “cruel” and “unlawful” sanctions against Iran and respect the Iranian nation’s rights, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in his speech aired live by the state TV on Tuesday. TO GO WITH “Roundup: Iran stresses lifting sanctions as prerequisite for talks with U.S.” (Iran’s Presidential Office/Handout via Xinhua/IANS)

United Nations, Sep 26 (IANS) Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ruled out negotiations with the United States as long as Washington maintains its sanctions on Tehran, and he insisted that Iran will not enter into talks with an “an enemy that seeks to make Iran surrender with the weapon of poverty.”

In an address before the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, Rouhani said that “Our response to any negotiations under sanctions is negative.”

The Iranian leader said that for negotiations to take place, Washington must return to its commitments under the nuclear pact negotiated in 2015, from which President Donald Trump withdrew the US, Efe news reported.

Rouhani told the international body that the Persian Gulf region is “on the edge of collapse, as a single blunder can fuel a big fire,” adding that “We shall not tolerate the provocative intervention of foreigners. We shall respond decisively and strongly to any sort of transgression to and violation of our security and territorial integrity.”

The Iranian leader also insisted, in response to Trump’s stated willingness to meet with him and the attempts by French President Emmanuel Macron to arrange that meeting, that the road to talks could only be opened if Washington abandons its sanctions.

He also accused the US of engaging in “merciless economic terrorism” against his people, not to mention “international piracy.”

Rouhani said that Iran had never surrendered to foreign attacks or pressure, adding that his government could not put any trust in the invitation to negotiate by people – namely the US administration – who have levied the harshest sanctions in history on Iran.

“We cannot believe the invitation of negotiation of people who claim to have applied the harshest sanctions of history against the dignity and prosperity of our nation,” he said.

Rouhani also said that it would be difficult to undertake negotiations with those who have withdrawn from international treaties and agreements, referring to the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

He said that it had become clear that the US is turning its back on its commitments and that Europe cannot fulfil its own commitments, adding that European nations are not doing enough to compensate for Washington’s sanctions and keep the nuclear pact alive.

“Our patience has a limit,” he said.

Tensions in the region have skyrocketed after the drone attacks earlier this month against Saudi oil refineries, which Washington and several European countries have blamed on Iran.

Rouhani, in his remarks, mentioned “recent incidents” that have endangered Gulf security and pushed for greater cooperation among the states in the region and the need to push the US to the side, saying that regional security requires the withdrawal of US troops and an end to Saudi “aggression” in Yemen.

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