US President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran last year but has said he is willing to hold talks with the Islamic Republic.
Speaking at a cabinet session, Rouhani said the Islamic Republic would never lose any chance for negotiations as far as it is based on mutual respect.
“As long as I have the responsibility for the executive duties of the country, we are completely ready for just, legal and honest negotiations to solve the problems,” Rouhani said.
“But at the same time we are not ready to sit at the table of surrender in the name of negotiations,” he said.
“Iran not in the habit of acting obstinately…, but would not submit to bullying."
The president further touched on a decision by Iran to suspend some of its commitments under the multilateral nuclear deal on a stage-by-stage basis after the US left the accord and unleashed a harsh campaign of economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Tehran, though, would take another step toward reducing its nuclear obligations if it is faced with continued violations of its legal rights, Rouhani said.
Security of Hormuz Strait
Rouhani also said Iran has the responsibility for securing the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf and will decisively confront any attempt at destabilizing the strategic waters.
“We will not allow anyone to try to disrupt order in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz,” he said.
“It is Iran and the other littoral states, which are chiefly responsible for securing the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, and the [security] issue has nothing to do with others. The Iranian nation has always acted as the guardian of the Persian Gulf,” Rouhani emphasized.
Rouhani strongly warned against acts of “mischief” in the Persian Gulf as well as violations of the international maritime law governing the body of water, calling on all sides to heed the warnings of the naval forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in the Strait of Hormuz — which has been in charge of ensuring security in the maritime bottleneck.
The president further hailed the IRGC’s recent capture of a law-breaking British-flagged oil tanker, which had collided with a fishing boat in the strait and ignored its repeated distress calls as a “very precise, professional, and correct” step.
“I believe that the entire world should be grateful to the IRGC for the security in the Persian Gulf,” Rouhani said.
Besides safeguarding the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, he added, Iran endeavors to contribute to maritime security in other international waterways such as the Bab al-Mandeb Strait and the Indian Ocean, referring to the country’s numerous successful anti-piracy missions and patrols in the high seas.
The president further slammed the illegal seizure of an Iranian supertanker by UK British naval forces off the coast of Gibraltar earlier this month.
“We are not after keeping up tensions with certain European countries. If they abide by international regulations and stop taking unlawful measures like what they did in Gibraltar, they will receive a befitting response from Iran,” Rouhani added.
Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.