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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iranian President Rouhani Rules Out Bilateral Talks With US

Sputnik News

08:17 03.09.2019(updated 08:51 03.09.2019)

The comments by the Iranian president come just weeks after his US counterpart, Donald Trump, signalled his readiness to hold a bilateral meeting in the future under the "correct" circumstances.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has excluded the possibility of bilateral negotiations with the United States, having, however, noted that talks could resume on the following condition:

"If the United States lifts all sanctions, they can, as before, enter into a dialogue within the P5+1 group", he said.

As of today, he continued, Tehran's answer to talks with Washington will always be "no":

"No decision has ever been taken to hold talks with the US and there has been a lot of offers for talks but our answer will always be negative", Rouhani said.

The Iranian president appeared to reiterate his earlier comments made following the G7 summit in France's Biarritz last month, when he said that the US must first lift sanctions against Iran, otherwise a meeting between the two presidents would be a mere photo op.

Last month, his American counterpart, Donald Trump, said that he was open to meeting Rouhani under the right circumstances to discus their standoff over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also referred to as the Iran nuclear deal.

"At a given point in time, there will have to be a meeting between the American and Iranian president", Trump said, calling Rouhani a "great negotiator", in the wake of the Group of Seven summit.

President Rouhani has previoulsy slammed the United States over its claims that it wanted to have talks without any preconditions, while at the same time sanctioning high-ranking Iranian officials, such as Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

In late July, US Secretary of State Pompeo confirmed to WFTV 9 that President Trump sought unconditional talks with Iran, yet wanted to change Tehran's "behaviour".

Boiling Tensions

US-Iran relations have been tense since Washington unilaterally pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran in May 2018 and reinstated all sanctions against the Islamic Republic with a stated goal of bringing its oil exports to zero.

In May 2019, Iran, for its part, announced a decision to partially scale back its voluntary obligations under the nuclear deal and gave the remaining signatories - France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, and the European Union - 60 days to salvage the agreement by facilitating oil exports and trade with Iran.

After the deadline expired, Tehran stated that it would begin enriching uranium beyond the 3.67 percent level set by the deal and warned it would gradually abandon its nuclear commitments every 60 days.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, was signed in 2015 by Iran and the P5+1 nations – Russia, the US, China, France, the UK plus Germany – after years of tense negotiations. The multilateral accord sought to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for the gradual lifting of economic sanctions on Tehran.


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