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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Rouhani: US must give up 'maximum pressure' as precondition to make way for Iran talks

Iran Press TV

Thu Sep 26, 2019 05:36PM

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says if the United States wants to pave the way for negotiations with Iran, it must first give up its policy of exerting "maximum pressure" on the Islamic Republic as a precondition for talks with Tehran.

Rouhani made the remarks at a press conference in New York on Thursday, which marked the end of his participation in the 74th annual session of the UN General Assembly.

Asked about the possibility of any talks between Tehran and Washington, Iran's president said, "We want the US to remove the precondition for talking to Iran, including its 'maximum pressure' campaign against the Iranian nation" before any talks could be possible.

Rouhani emphasized that the US must first remove sanctions and end pressures against the Islamic Republic and adopt a logical policy, which would benefit both the people of the United States and the world; "then negotiation would be possible."

The Iranian president noted that by re-imposing sanctions on Iran and exerting maximum pressure on the country, "the US wanted to make the Iranian administration be held to blame for the ensuing problems."

He added that the American officials want to engage in negotiation with Iran at the same time that they are violating the country's rights and set preconditions.

"US must give up the 'maximum pressure' [policy] as a precondition [for talks with Iran] to prove that it is possible to negotiate with this administration and reach an agreement," Rouhani emphasized.

He added that the US has already failed in its effort to draw a wedge between the Iranian nation and government through its pressures and has only increased the gap between the Iranian nation and the US administration while stirring the highest degree of hate among Iranians.

"If the US gives up its precondition for talking to Iran, the situation will change and we can think about it."

Rouhani then referred to Washington's unilateral withdrawal from the landmark nuclear deal reached between Iran and five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany in 2015, which is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Iran's president said that it is not right for the US to sign an agreement, implement it for a few months and then seek pretext to withdraw from it, which also amounted to violation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which upheld the Iran deal.

"After withdrawal of the US, other parties said they would be able to keep the JCPOA going and we listened to their plans as we wanted the JCPOA to survive," Rouhani explained, adding, however, that Europeans offered many plans first through their central banks and then through other financial systems, but none of them have become operational yet.

"Europe has proved its inability or lack of determination ... to keep the JCPOA going in practice... It wants for the nuclear deal to continue, but wants its cost to be undertaken by Iran."

Despite Washington's withdrawal from the deal in May 2018, Tehran remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year as confirmed by the IAEA in several reports, waiting for the co-signatories to fulfill their end of the bargain by offsetting the impacts of Washington's sanctions on the Iranian economy.

As the European parties failed to do so, Tehran moved in May to retaliate against Washington's exit and began suspending its JCPOA commitments in 60-day stages under Articles 26 and 36 of the deal covering Tehran's legal rights.

As a first step Iran increased its enriched uranium stockpile to beyond the 300 kilograms set by the JCPOA. In the second step, Tehran began enriching uranium to purity rates beyond the JCPOA-limit of 3.76 percent.

As a third step in its reduction of commitments, Iran said in early September that it had activated 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 centrifuges for research and development purposes.

Iran has given another two months to the European signatories to take meaningful action to save the JCPOA.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian president said, "We have officially announced that R&D limitations [in Iran's nuclear program] have been lifted and we have informed the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) of this issue... We have not reduced or restricted IAEA's inspections. We have just reduced part of our commitments, including with regard to R&D in the third step. We have installed advanced centrifuges, which were supposed to be made operational a few years in the future, and when this chain is complete, it will be active and this is part of our R&D plans."

Asked about the recent attacks on the facilities operated by the Saudi oil giant, Aramco, in the eastern part of the country, and accusations leveled against Iran in this regard, Rouhani said Iran has had no part in the attacks, emphasizing that "the Yemeni people have right to defend themselves against aggression.

"The world knows that Yemeni forces have long-range missiles and drones... They have attacked other regions in Saudi Arabia frequently... Those who claim the attack was not from Yemen, must produce proof for their claim... [However,] the European leaders told me they had no evidence to show that Yemenis were not behind Saudi attack."

Following the attacks, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the attack on Saudi oil facilities as "an act of war" that knocked out more than half the kingdom's oil production.

Pompeo also put the blame for the operation on Iran, claiming, "Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia" and that "there is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen."

Tehran, however, dismissed the allegation, saying Washington seemed to be shifting from a failed campaign of "maximum pressure" to one of "maximum lying" and "deceit" against the Islamic Republic.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet that "US & its clients are stuck in Yemen because of illusion that weapon superiority will lead to military victory."

Yemen said it used 10 drones for Saturday's operation, which was one of their largest retaliatory attacks ever inside the kingdom.

The Yemeni army has said the raids were carried out on the back of an intelligence operation and in cooperation with "certain honorable and freedom-seeking individuals within Saudi Arabia."

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