First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri said on Sunday that Iran is open to negotiations with the US if President Donald Trump abandons its "bullying".
"The government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran have repeatedly shown that they are for logic and talks,” he said, adding that “we say that these talks must be held on an equal footing,” ISNA reported.
Jahangiri pointed to the past Iran-US negotiations prior to the historic 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to back up his statement.
In May, Trump withdrew the US from the deal, which had arisen out of painstaking several years of negotiation with world powers, including direct Iran-US talks.
This is while the US allies and international organizations attested to Iran’s compliance to the deal’s requirements.
“We had negotiations for 18 months before reaching this agreement and broke many taboos to get it done,” he said.
Striking a defiant tone, Jahangiri, however, rejected the arguments of those saying “we should talk with him (Trump) and make a deal” even under current circumstances.
“The Iranian spirit and zeal will not allow us to do so,” he emphasized.
The US president 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.”
President Hassan Rouhani in August dismissed Washington’s offer of talks, saying the US, itself, burned its bridges for negotiations with Tehran.
“The US itself has acted in such a way that has destroyed the circumstances required for negotiations. It has burned its bridges,"
“Now, the US is standing on the other side," wondering how to cross, the president noted, adding, “If it is honest, it should fix that bridge again.”
In the same vein, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on September 15 that Iran could hold talks with Washington only if Trump returned to the international agreement.
Iran to stand US pressure
Jahangiri said Iran has plans to counter the upcoming US sanctions that would restrict its oil sales.
The sanctions, the first batch of which was imposed in August and the second is due in November, aims to keep away companies from working with Tehran, as the US has threatened the companies doing business with Iran would lose the American market and face penalties.
“Due to US pressure some countries have cut their oil imports from Iran to zero while others continue importing Iran’s oil,” he said.
“We have also found some new oil partners,” he added.
Jahangiri said Iran will not sit by while the US is imposing curbs on its oil, banking and transit sectors.
“The government, contrary to US wishes, has found solutions so that we can export oil, carry on our transit activities and conduct our financial transactions,” he added.
The European Union said in September that its members would set up a payment mechanism that would allow oil companies and businesses to continue trading with Iran without being afraid of the reach of the US extraterritorial sanctions.