TEHRAN President Hassan Rouhani has slammed US President Donald Trump’s offer for direct talks as a disingenuous PR stunt for domestic consumption while the “untrustworthy” Washington only increases its sanctions against Iran.
In his first public statement since Trump signed an executive order reinstating sanctions against Tehran, Rouhani said that he will not negotiate with Washington while being sanctioned at same time, describing such tactics as “psychological warfare [against] the Iranian nation,” adding that “Trump’s call for direct talks is only for domestic consumption in America … and to create chaos in Iran.”
Rouhani said that the Iranians would make the US regret for re-imposing sanctions against the Islamic republic.
“Through unity and solidarity, the Iranians will weather away the return of sanctions,” Rouhani said on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.
“(US President) Donald Trump will learn that these kinds of pressures did not surrender Iranians in the past and will never do so in the future.”
The Iranian president said that while his government favored dialogue, such talks required “honesty.”
“The US reimposes sanctions on Iran and pulls out of the nuclear deal, and then wants to hold talks with us,” Rouhani said in a Monday speech broadcast live on state television.
He went on to compare Trump’s alleged offer to stabbing someone with a knife, while claiming to only seek peaceful dialogue. “They’re imposing sanctions upon Iranian children, patients, and the people,” Rouhani said. He called on the White House to sign back on to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal if was indeed serious about negotiating with Tehran.
The first batch of sanctions, which will take effect on Tuesday, target Tehran’s purchase of US banknotes, trade in gold and other precious metals, as well as the use of graphite, coal, aluminium and steel in industrial processes.
They also affect transactions related to the Iranian Rial, the issuance of sovereign debts, and the country’s automotive sector.
Another round of sanctions, to be reinstalled in November, will be on Iran’s port, energy and shipping sectors, its petroleum-related transactions, and foreign transactions with the Central Bank of Iran, according to the statement.
Washington is reinstating measures that were lifted under the nuclear deal, after unilaterally withdrawing from the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Tehran in May.
The 2015 agreement, which placed tight controls on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions, was signed by Iran, the United States, Russia, China and the European Union.
Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the deal been widely condemned by the EU and other signatories, raising questions among European nations about whether the United States could still be considered a reliable transatlantic partner. The European Commission has stated that despite US sanctions, European companies will continue doing business in Iran under Brussels’ protection.
Earlier reacting to Trump offer of meeting Iranian leadership “any time they want to, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the US should blame itself for ending talks with Iran when it left the JCPOA.
“The hours of our negotiations with America were perhaps unprecedented in history; then Trump signs something and say all [those negotiations] are void; can you negotiate with this person? Is this [negotiations offer] anything but a publicity stunt?” he asked.
Noting that the purpose and subject of any negotiations must be clear, Iran’s top diplomat added, “Negotiations must be worth their while.”
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