News ID: 262483
Published: 0237 GMT December 04, 2019

Rouhani: Iran still ready for talks if US lifts sanctions

Rouhani: Iran still ready for talks if US lifts sanctions

Iran is willing to return to the negotiating table if the United States first drops sanctions, President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday.

European countries have been pushing for talks with Iran to salvage a 2015 nuclear deal that has been unraveling since the United States withdrew and reimposed sanctions last year.

Rouhani has long demanded the lifting of US sanctions for Iran's return to talks under the auspices of the so-called P5+1 that reached the deal – the five veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

"If they are prepared to put aside the sanctions, we are ready to talk and negotiate, even at the level of heads of the 5+1 countries," Rouhani said in remarks aired live on national television.

"We are under sanctions. This situation... is (because of) incitement by the Zionists and the region's reactionary," he said, referring to Iran's regional foes Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The president also commented on the Israeli and Saudi regimes’ attempts to disrupt the diplomatic process before and after the deal was hammered out.

“Once again the Zionist, Saudi, and American radicals managed to fool Trump by telling him that [if he left the deal and restored the bans,] he would become the first US president to be able to say, ‘I broke Iran down,’” Rouhani said.

His remarks came after France and Germany raised the possibility of triggering a mechanism in the deal that could lead to the reimposition of UN sanctions.

Rouhani described the sanctions as "a cruel act by the White House".

"We have no choice but to resist and persevere," he said. "At the same time, we have not closed the window for negotiations.

"I tell the people of Iran that any time America is prepared to lift and put aside its wrong, cruel, unlawful, incorrect, terrorist sanctions, immediately the heads of 5+1 can meet and we have no problem."

“We see no problem in that,” he noted.

The landmark 2015 deal gave Iran relief from economic sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

The deal has been at risk of falling apart since US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it in May last year and reimposed sanctions.

Known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it was agreed between Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States, plus Germany.

Rouhani said the nuclear talks that preceded the JCPOA resulted in the recognition of Iran’s right to nuclear enrichment activity within its own borders, an entitlement that had previously been banned under United Nations resolutions.

“No one believed we would be able to secure this issue during negotiations with the world’s big powers,” the president stated.

Twelve months on from the US pullout, Iran began reducing its commitments to the deal hoping to win concessions from those still party to the accord.

Its latest step back came last month, when engineers began feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into mothballed enrichment centrifuges at the underground Fordo plant south of Tehran.

In his remarks, Rouhani said his government strived to remain in the nuclear deal despite "pressures" that were on it.

AFP and Press TV contributed to this story.




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