Rouhani places conditions on talks with US

Iranian President says he is ready to hold talks with US if it lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Elad Benari ,

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani

Iran is ready to hold talks with the United States if Washington lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal it quit last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday, according to Reuters.

"We have always believed in talks ... if they lift sanctions, end the imposed economic pressure and return to the deal, we are ready to hold talks with America today, right now and anywhere," Rouhani said in a speech.

US President Donald Trump pulled out of the accord in May 2018 and has since then imposed several rounds of crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s economy.

Trump has indicated that he is open to negotiations with Iran on a more far-reaching agreement on nuclear and security issues, but Iran has made any talks conditional on first being able to export as much oil as it did before the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have escalated in recent months and were exacerbated by a series of attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf which were blamed on Iran.

In another incident, Iran shot down a US drone, claiming it violated Iranian airspace near the Strait of Hormuz.

Meanwhile, the European signatories to the 2015 deal did not agree with Trump’s decision to leave the agreement and vowed to help Iran evade the economic sanctions imposed by the US, shielding companies doing business with the rogue state in an effort to preserve the Iran nuclear deal.

Iran, however, says the European efforts are insufficient.

Last week, the Islamic Republic announced that it would expand its uranium enrichment to 5%, which is beyond the limit permitted in the 2015 deal it signed with world powers.

Trump said in response to Iran’s uranium enrichment, “Iran better be careful, because you enrich for one reason, and I won’t tell you what that reason is, but it’s no good. They better be careful.”