Rouhani: US asks Iran for new talks ‘every day’
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Rouhani: US asks Iran for new talks ‘every day’

Iranian president says Tehran in an ‘economic, psychological and propaganda war’ after Trump keeps open possibility of meeting at UN

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in Tehran, September 7, 2018. (AFP/Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in Tehran, September 7, 2018. (AFP/Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday said the United States sends Iran requests “every day” to hold negotiations.

Following his decision to withdraw from the deal meant to limit Iran’s nuclear program and reimpose sanctions, US President Donald Trump in July offered to hold unconditional talks with Tehran, an offer rejected by Iranian leaders.

“From one side they try to pressure the people of Iran, on another side they send us messages every day through various methods that we should come and negotiate together,” Rouhani said in a speech shown on state television, according to Reuters.

The US says “we should negotiate here, we should negotiate there,” Rouhani added. “We want to resolve the issues… should we see your message… or should we see your brutish actions?”

Echoing comments made Thursday by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Rouhani also said Iran is in an “economic, psychological and propaganda war” against the US and Israel.

Trump in May announced the US would leave the 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers, charging it did not do enough to curb Iran’s nuclear development. He also assailed the accord for not addressing Iranian support for armed groups in the region or the country’s ballistic missile program.

US President Donald Trump gestures as he boards Air Force One at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on September 7, 2018. (AFP/Nicholas Kamm)

Despite his frequently hawkish rhetoric toward Iran, Trump has kept open the possibility of talks and on Wednesday said it was possible he could meet Rouhani at the UN General Assembly later this month.

“We’ll see what happens with Iran. Whether they want to talk or not, that’s up to them, not up to me,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

“Iran is a much different place than when I took over the presidency,” he added, describing the country as “in turmoil.”

“When I took office it was just a question of how long until they took over the entire Middle East. Now they are just worrying about their own survival as a country.”

Trump is due to lead a September 26 meeting of heads of state of the UN Security Council, with the goal of ramping up pressure on Tehran over its alleged violations of council resolutions.

With the United States now holding the presidency of the Security Council, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Tuesday said the aim was to put further pressure on Tehran.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New York, April 24, 2018. (AP/Richard Drew)

But Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on Wednesday hit out at the US plan.

“There’s only one UNSC resolution on Iran… @realDonaldTrump is violating it & bullying others to do same,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.

Washington has sought to build up international pressure on Iran after reimposing tough, unilateral sanctions on August 7 and setting a November 5 deadline for halting Iran’s oil exports.

Iran’s economy has been battered as countries wrap up trade ties in fear of violating the US sanctions, which Washington said would be strictly imposed.

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