Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 8 December 2019

Iran's Rouhani says US talks possible if Donald Trump lifts sanctions

The Iranian president said the US would have to meet its commitments before a new deal is agreed

A handout photo made available by the Iranian Presidential Office shows, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a ceremony in Tehran, Iran, 23 May 2019. EPA
A handout photo made available by the Iranian Presidential Office shows, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a ceremony in Tehran, Iran, 23 May 2019. EPA

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday suggested that talks with the United States were possible if Washington lifts sanctions.

Mr Rouhani’s comments come a day after US President Donald Trump said he believes he can make a deal with Tehran and was not interested in regime change.

The Iranian president said they were open to talks “whenever they [the US] lift the unjust sanctions and fulfil their commitments and return to the negotiations table, which they left themselves, the door is not closed."

Mr Trump withdrew America just over a year ago from the 2015 nuclear deal signed with Tehran and world powers. At the time, he said the deal did not go far enough to curb destabilising Iranian behaviour and a new agreement should cover the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program and support for regional proxy forces.

"Our people judge you by your actions, not your words," Mr Rouhani said after Mr Trump’s talk of hashing out an agreement.

"I really believe that Iran would like to make a deal, and I think that's very smart of them, and I think that's a possibility to happen," Mr Trump said during a news conference with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo earlier this week.

Several countries, including Japan, have come forward as possible intermediaries between Tehran and Washington, but the US has insisted that, for now, no backchannel talks are taking place.

Tensions have risen between Iran and the United States since Washington deployed military resources including a carrier strike group and bombers earlier this month and announced plans to deploy 1,500 troops to the Middle East, prompting fears of a conflict.

Updated: May 29, 2019 03:15 PM

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