Rouhani: We're willing to talk if US 'shows respect'

Iranian President suggests Iran willing to talk with US, but will not be pressured into negotiations.

Ben Ariel ,

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday suggested Iran may be willing to hold talks if the United States “showed respect”, but also stressed Tehran would not be pressured into negotiations, Reuters reported.

“We are for logic and talks if (the other side) sits respectfully at the negotiating table and follows international regulations, not if it issues an order to negotiate,” he said.

Rouhani’s comments come amid increased tensions between Iran and the United States in the past month, a year after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

Since then, his administration has imposed several rounds of sanctions against Iran.

In recent weeks, Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East in a show of force against what US officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests in the region.

While Trump has urged Iran’s leaders to talk with him about giving up their nuclear program, he has also made clear he could not rule out a military confrontation with the Islamic Republic.

This past Monday, Trump made clear that Iran “has a chance to be a great country with the same leadership... We aren’t looking for regime change - I just want to make that clear.”

So far, Iranian leaders have rejected talks with the Trump administration. Earlier this month, Rouhani said that he favors talks and diplomacy but not under current conditions.

In Saturday’s speech to a group of Iranian athletes, Rouhani noted Trump’s recent remarks and suggested they were a climb-down from statements last year that encouraged regime change in Iran.

“The same enemy which declared its aim last year to destroy the Islamic Republic of Iran today explicitly states that it does not want to do anything to (our) system,” Rouhani said, according to Reuters. “If we remain hopeful in the war with America, we will win.”

David Rubin, former Mayor of Shiloh, Israel, and author of “Trump and the Jews” responded, saying: “In the eyes of the mullahs of Iran, ‘respect’ means allowing them to continue their pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. It also means respecting what they see as their right to finance Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis, and other terrorist organizations. To expect President Trump to give them such respect is delusional at best and evil at worst.”

“Trump’s abandonment of the Iran nuclear deal and the reimposition of sanctions was a bold move that should have been praised by everyone in Congress.”