President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday again dismissed Washington’s offer of talks, which followed its unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, saying the US, itself, burned its bridges for negotiations with Tehran.
Currently, the Islamic Republic is holding talks with the entire world, Rouhani told a cabinet meeting.
He added, “The US itself has acted in such a way that has destroyed the circumstances required for negotiations. It has burned its bridges," Press TV reported.
"There were conditions for negotiation and we were negotiating. They destroyed the bridge themselves," he said. "If you're telling the truth then come now and build the bridge again."
Rouhani stressed, "We will not let the enemy bring us to our knees. If the enemy thinks they will defeat us, they will take this hope to the grave with them."
US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington in May from the landmark nuclear agreement and decided to reimpose the unilateral sanctions against Iran.
The White House has vowed the “strongest sanctions in history” against Iran unless the country fulfills a list of demands.
New US sanctions against Iran took effect last week, and Trump said companies doing business with the country will be barred from the United States.
Trump said on July 30 that he is ready to meet his Iranian counterpart “any time they want to,” adding, “No preconditions. If they want to meet, I’ll meet.” His offer of talks came only days after he threatened Iran in a tweet addressing President Rouhani and saying, “You will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”
In response, Iranian officials reject that offer, saying Tehran will not negotiate under pressure and threats. On Monday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the Islamic Republic would not enter into new negotiations with the United States due to the cheating and bullying nature of its government.
Aim of US sanctions
Iranian Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri said on Wednesday that the United States is trying to make Iran surrender through the reimposition of sanctions.
“The first priority for all of us under a sanctions situation is to work toward managing the country in a way that brings the least amount of damage to people’s lives,” Jahangiri said. “America is trying by applying various pressures on our society to force us to retreat and surrender.”
The new sanctions targeted Iranian purchases of US dollars, metals trading, coal, industrial software and its auto sector, though the toughest measures targeting oil exports do not take effect for four more months.
The Iranian economy is beset by high unemployment and a rial currency which has lost half its value since April.
Rouhani said the economy is the biggest problem facing the country.
Reuters contributed to this story.