Rouhani: Negotiation possible if US lifts pressures
Zarif: US in no position to grant, cancel waivers
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Iran can export as much oil as it needs as he played down the US decision to end sanctions waivers it granted to importers of Iranian crude.
“America’s efforts in sanctioning the sale of Iranian oil won’t get anywhere,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. “We can export as much of our oil as we need and want.”
Oil prices hit their highest level since November on Tuesday after the US announced all waivers on imports of Iranian oil would end next week.
Washington’s enmity will receive an answer and Iran’s people will not remain silent, the Leader said.
Ayatollah Khamenei further said the enemies have recurrently failed in their attempts to bring the Iranian nation to its knees.
They are now resorting to economic pressure to achieve that end, but will once again fail to do so, he added.
“They (enemies) imagine they’ve blocked [our] way, but our vigorous nation and vigilant authorities will overcome dead-ends if they put their efforts into this,” the Leader said.
Ayatollah Khamenei, however, called for collective efforts to reduce domestic dependence on oil.
He said American and Israeli officials claim that they are the enemies of the Iranian government and not of the Iranian people, “however, enmity with the Islamic Republic is enmity with the Iranian nation because the Islamic Republic is standing thanks to the support of the people.”
Ayatollah Khamenei said although the US sanctions against Iran have caused problems, they would benefit the country if “correctly and logically” dealt with.
“Sanctions lead to reliance on domestic power, capacity, and initiatives,” he said.
The Leader said Iran appreciated a lower reliance on oil sales and considered it as “a kind of opportunity” to focus more on its domestic capabilities.
Ayatollah Khamenei said that the recent measures against Iran were the enemies’ “last breaths of enmity” and that they would “ultimately grow tired of hostility toward the Iranian nation.”
The United States on Monday demanded that buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions, ending six months of waivers which allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers, most of them in Asia, to continue importing limited volumes.
The White House said after its Iran move that it was working with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to ensure oil markets were “adequately supplied”.
President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday Saudi Arabia and the UAE are making a mistake in helping US President Donald Trump’s efforts to cut back on Iran’s oil exports.
“You whose existence is in the shadow of the Islamic Republic of Iran, how can you tell Trump that if you bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, we will make up for it?” Rouhani said. “Do you understand the consequences of this statement and that it means you are a definite enemy of the Iranian people?”
Talks with US
US special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, said in an interview with a Saudi television network that the US was ready to negotiate a new agreement with Iran that he said would cover Iran’s “nuclear program, their missile program, their regional aggression, and the arbitrary detention of foreign nationals, which include Americans.”
Rouhani said that Iran has always favored talks and diplomacy, but it will not be negotiating with a bullying power. “Accepting such negotiations would mean humiliation and capitulation,” he added.
Rouhani said Iran is willing to negotiate with the United States only when Washington removes pressure and apologizes, his website reported.
“Negotiation is only possible if all the pressures are lifted, they apologize for their illegal actions and there is mutual respect,” Rouhani said.
Rouhani, who appeared to be referring to lifting US sanctions, said the United States was not ready to negotiate.
“The actions that it is taking are aimed at defeating the Iranian nation” and “making a return” to Iran, he added, referring to Washington’s ample presence and influence in the country prior to the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Rouhani said the US subversive measures against Iran have all failed on international, regional, and political arenas, and that its propagandist attempts targeting the Islamic Republic have all been defeated.
Washington has been and will likewise be frustrated in its anti-Iran economic drive, he added.
Rouhani said the US would not be able to monopolize the world’s oil market despite all its attempts.
“This is not possible. We will be selling our oil using various means,” he noted, and said the US would be oppressing all the oil companies and nations in the world, including its own, by pursuing such a policy.
‘Worse than bandits’
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday the US is in no position to grant or cancel waivers to countries buying oil from Iran.
Zarif said the behavior of the United States is even worse than bandits’.
The top diplomat made the remarks upon arrival in New York, the venue of a UN General Assembly meeting on multilateralism and peace.
He added that the US violates the UN Security Council resolutions and threatens other countries to follow its lead or face punishment.
Zarif described the US as the “source of instability in this region”, saying that it has been cooperating with and supporting other sources of instability in this region, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which, according to the top diplomat, are countries that have “violated every principle of international humanitarian law.”
“They [the Americans] need to reassess their policies and return to a normal behavior in the international scene. The US is currently an outlaw state that has violated almost any agreement that it had agreed,” Zarif continued.
“The US has not shown that it’s a credible negotiating partner; it has shown its contempt for international law and its own agreements and decisions in the past.”
Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.