Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rules out bilateral talks with US
ranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that Iran will never hold bilateral talks with the United States but if it lifts all the sanctions it reimposed on Iran it can join multilateral talks between Iran and other parties to a 2015 nuclear deal.
“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,” Hassan Rouhani told an open session of parliament broadcast live on state radio.
“If America lifts all the sanctions then like before it can join multilateral talks between Tehran and parties to the 2015 deal,” Hassan Rouhani added.
US President Donald Trump, although applying “maximum pressure” on Iran, has offered to meet its leaders and hold bilateral talks with no pre-conditions to end the confrontation between their countries.
Last month, Hassan Rouhani said that Iran would not talk to its longtime foe until the United States lifted all of the sanctions it reimposed after it exited the 2015 nuclear deal last year.
European parties to the deal have struggled to calm the deepening confrontation between Iran and the United States and save the deal by shielding Iran’s economy from the sanctions.
But the European powers have warned that their support for the deal is dependent on Iran’s full commitment to it.
Iran has called on the Europeans to accelerate their efforts and Hassan Rouhani stressed on Tuesday that Iran would take a third step in scaling back its nuclear commitments by Thursday unless the Europeans kept their promises to salvage the deal.
“If Europeans can purchase our oil or pre-purchase it and we can have access to our money, that will ease the situation and we can fully implement the deal… otherwise we will take our third step,” Rouhani said.
The 2015 deal between Iran and six other countries, reached under former US President Barack Obama, curbed Iran’s nuclear work in exchange for the lifting of most international sanctions in 2016.
Iran has started to scale back its nuclear commitments since May and it will take further steps on September 5, aimed at ratcheting up pressure on the European parties of the pact to protect its economic interests despite the US sanctions.
Iranian authorities have said that the next step would be stronger and might include enriching uranium to 20 per cent or restarting mothballed centrifuges, machines that purify uranium for use as fuel in power plants or, if very highly enriched, in weapons.
Iran has increased its stockpile of heavy water and has increased the level of its enrichment of uranium beyond the limits allowed under the agreement
Enriching uranium up to 20 per cent purity is considered an important intermediate stage on the path to obtaining the 90 per cent pure fissile uranium needed for a bomb