If US wants talks, it must lift sanctions: Iran President

If Washington wants negotiations with Tehran, it must lift all the sanctions against the Islamic republic, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday.

The US sanctions against Iran “violate human rights and amount to a crime”, Rouhani was quoted as saying by state TV.

With the “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, the US sincerity in its repeated offers of talks is doubtful, the President said as he slammed Washington for pulling out of the 2015 international nuclear deal and reinstating economic sanctions against Tehran, which had been lifted under the deal.

Rouhani also said that the bans targeting Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif were not in harmony with Washington’s claims of seeking negotiations with Tehran, according to Press TV.

“Washington cannot force the Iranian people to change their views through sanctions and pressure,” he said.

US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal — officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — in May 2018, triggering tensions between the two countries.

He called for re-negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear programme, its ballistic missile tests and the Islamic republic’s regional role.

Tehran responded by breaching the limit on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium set under the nuclear deal. It stepped up production of enriched uranium, used to make reactor fuel but also potentially nuclear bombs.

Fears of a direct US-Iranian conflict have risen since May with several suspected attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, Iran’s downing of a US surveillance drone, and a plan for US air raids on Iran in June that Trump called off at the last minute.

(IANS)