Iran’s Rouhani says no talks with US unless sanctions lifted


August 27, 2019


Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani speaking during an exhibition about government achievements, in Tehran, Iran, on Aug 26, 2019. PHOTO: EPA-EFE


DUBAI (REUTERS, AP, BLOOMBERG) – Iran has no intention to talk to the United States unless all sanctions imposed on Tehran are lifted, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday (Aug 27), a day after US President Donald Trump said he would meet his Iranian counterpart to end a nuclear standoff.

Mr Rouhani’s change of heart came a day after Mr Trump said Monday there’s a good chance the two could meet after a surprise intervention by French President Emmanuel Macron during the G-7 summit to try to bring Washington and Tehran together.

Mr Rouhani said that if Mr Trump wants a photo with him, his only hope for now is to use Photoshop. “We are interested in solving problems in a reasonable way, but we’re not interested in taking photos,” he said in a televised speech to officials in Tehran.

“If someone wants to have their photo taken with Hassan Rouhani, it’s not possible; it’s possible to do it with Photoshop,” Mr Rouhani said in an apparent reference to the US president. The country must lift sanctions on Iran if it wants talks, he said.

Mr Rouhani says that “without the US’s withdrawal from sanctions, we will not witness any positive development.” He added that Washington “holds the key”.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Rouhani expressed readiness to negotiate a way out of the crisis following America’s pullout from the nuclear deal.

“Tehran has never wanted nuclear weapons,” Mr Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state television, adding that the country was always ready to hold talks.

“But first the US should act by lifting all illegal, unjust and unfair sanctions imposed on Iran,” he added.

“We will continue to scale back our commitments under the 2015 deal if our interests are not guaranteed.”

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