President calls for holding referendums for crucial matters
Rouhani says Iran ready to engage in dialogue with Saudi Arabia
President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that Iran is ready to restart nuclear talks with the United States and parties to the 2015 nuclear deal within the framework of the accord if the US lifts all sanctions it has reimposed on Iran after quitting the agreement last year in May.
Rouhani made the comment at a press conference in Tehran.
Answering a question about the possibility of talks between Tehran and Washington if the impeachment probe against US President Donald Trump leads to his dismissal and a new president takes office at the White House, he said Iran's problem is not to sit with a US president for talks, but “our main concern is whether our interests are met through negotiations or talks are merely for show.”
“Trump's personal characteristics have made it very difficult to talk to US,” he said, adding that this is not just a problem for Iran, but for the entire world and all world leaders have pointed to this out.
“If sanctions are removed based on our demands, we are ready to take part in talks within the framework of the P5+1,” he noted.
“Whenever I find out that a meetings solve the problem of the Iranian nation and serve the interests of the Iranian nation, I will attend [that meeting],” Rouhani said.
The president said during his recent trip to New York to take part in the UN General Assembly session, he was ready to take part in a P5+1 meeting.
“We were even ready to have a P5+1 summit in New York on condition that it was a P5+1 meeting, not an election campaign for Mr. Trump.”
Trump is a stern critic of the nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was clinched between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany in 2015. Under the agreement, nuclear-related sanctions against Iran were lifted in exchange for curbs on Tehran's nuclear program.
Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the deal in May 2018 and unleashed the "toughest ever" sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism in a bid to strangle the Iranian oil trade.
In response to the US acts, Tehran has so far scaled back on its nuclear commitments three times in compliance with articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.
Rouhani on Monday stressed that Iran would continue to cut its commitments to the 2015 nuclear agreement until the European Union fulfils promises it made under the deal.
"Unfortunately, three European countries (Britain, France and Germany) failed to deliver on their commitments and failed to fulfill what they needed to do… If they return to their commitments, we can return to our full commitments and if they continue the same path we will take the next steps in this regard.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani called for holding referendums in Iran for resolving crucial issues.
Reducing regional tensions
Rouhani also said that finding a solution to the conflict in Yemen could help reduce tensions in the region, which could be further resolved through diplomacy.
“Ending the war in Yemen will pave the ground for de-escalation in the region ... we want peace and calm in the region ... regional crisis can be resolved through diplomacy and cooperation between the regional countries,” Rouhani said.
“We never wanted to have bad relations with our neighbors, and we always wanted a good relationship with them.”
Rouhani noted that Iran has “no problem” in resolving the region's issues with regional countries including Saudi Arabia, through dialogue.
“Iran seeks peace in the region and does not seek insecurity, chaos and war,” the president said.
He added that relations between Iran and the United Arab Emirates, part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, had improved in the past months and “officials have visited each other’s countries”.
Press TV and Reuters contributed to this story.