Rouhani: US should 'return to normal state'

Iranian President responds to Pompeo who called on Iran to behave like "a normal nation".

Elad Benari ,

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that the US “should return to normal state” in order for talks with his country to resume, Reuters reported.

Rouhani was responding to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said earlier that the United States is prepared to engage with Iran without pre-conditions about its nuclear program, but needs to see the country behaving like “a normal nation”.

In response, the Iranian leader said, “The other side that left the negotiating table and breached a treaty should return to normal state. Until then, we do not have a choice but resistance.”

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.

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