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Rouhani Says No to Talks under US Pressure as Europe Sticks to Iran Deal

Rouhani Says No to Talks under US Pressure as Europe Sticks to Iran Deal

Wednesday, 25 September, 2019 - 17:15
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City, New York, US, September 25, 2019. (Reuters)

Iran will never hold talks with the United States under pressure, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, but added that lifting all the sanctions Washington imposed on Tehran and respecting a UN Security Council resolution could pave the way for talks.

“Our response to talks under pressure is NO,” said Rouhani, but warned that Iran might exit a 2015 nuclear deal if the European powers failed to salvage the deal.

“We are committed to the nuclear deal ... but Iran’s patience has a limit,” said the president, who was architect of the deal with six powers.

Iran has criticized the European parties to the deal for their failure to protect Iran’s interests by shielding them from US penalties which has been reimposed and tightened since last year when Washington exited the pact.

In retaliation, Iran has gradually reduced its commitments to the agreement.

The confrontation between Iran and the United States has ratcheted up after attacks on Saudi oil facilities on September 14 that Washington, the EU and Riyadh blame on Tehran.

Rouhani said the only way to secure peace and safety in the Gulf was strengthening “consolidation among all the nations with common interests in the Gulf and the Hormuz region.”

Earlier, the remaining parties to the Iran nuclear deal said they are committed to preserving the pact though it is “increasingly difficult.”

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini made the remarks to reporters after a meeting of the parties at the United Nations.

“It is in the interests of all to remain committed to the deal, but it is becoming increasing difficult,” Mogherini said.

She said France, Britain, Germany, Russia, China and Iran had agreed to continue efforts to implement the deal, which US President Donald Trump withdrew from in May 2018.

Since May this year, Iran has begun to exceed limits on its nuclear capacity set by the pact in retaliation for US pressure on Iran to negotiate restrictions on its ballistic missile program and support for proxy forces around the Middle East.

Iran says its measures are reversible if European signatories to the accord manage to restore its access to foreign trade promised under the nuclear deal but blocked by the reimposition of US sanctions.

Iran says that if it does not receive economic benefits from the deal by November it will further reduce its commitments.

“Every step that has been taken so far by Iran is reversible and we call on Iran to reverse these decisions and go back to full compliance,” Mogherini said. “I hope that rationality will prevail.”

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