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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Iran's president says US will rejoin nuclear deal

The United Nations General Assembly 2018: Hassan Rouhani said the withdrawal had isolated the US from its allies

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in New York. AFP
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in New York. AFP

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani has said the US will eventually rejoin the international nuclear deal President Donald Trump quit earlier this year.

"The United States of America one day, sooner or later, will come back. This cannot be continued," Mr Rouhani told a press conference in New York on Wednesday.

He also sought to play down the prospect of armed confrontation in the Middle East saying that Iran had no wish to “go to war with American forces” anywhere in the region.

The comments come hours after Mr Trump chaired his first UN Security Council meeting in which he criticised Tehran for exporting "violence, terror and turmoil".

But the Iranian leader hit back, saying support for the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was voiced at the meeting by the US's allies, showed the country had become isolated.

"The US in taking this action has become alone and isolated, the withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA has not met the approval of many countries around the world," he said.

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Mr Rouhani said Tehran would remain in the deal, which lifted western economic sanctions on Iran, as long as it served his country's interests.

"Remaining members of the deal have taken very good steps forward but Iran has higher expectations," he said in a reference to Russia, China and European nations who have pledged to remain part of the deal.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said earlier on Wednesday that the a special purpose vehicle was under consideration to allow trade with Iran without being subject to US financial pressure.

European diplomats have described the system as allowing the exchange of Iranian oil for European goods without money changing hands.

Mr Rouhani added that the reintroduction of US sanctions, which are due to come back into effect in November, were nothing new and an attempt to exert psychological pressure on Iran.