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Report: Iran’s president suggests willingness to hold talks with Washington

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (Kremlin/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

An Iranian news agency says President Hassan Rohani suggested that Tehran may be willing to hold talks if the United States showed it respect.

Rohani also said Tehran would not be pressured into negotiations, according to the semiofficial Fars news agency.

Rohani’s comments on June 1 come as the standoff between Tehran and Washington deepens, one year after Washington pulled out of a 2015 landmark nuclear deal between world powers and Iran that curbed the country’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling economic sanctions.

President Donald Trump reimposed economic sanctions on Iran last year, then increased them further in May when he ordered countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.

More recently, Trump ordered an aircraft carrier battle group to the region, and announced the deployment of extra forces to the Middle East.

Fars quoted Rohani as saying: “We are for logic and talks if [the other side] sits respectfully at the negotiating table and follows international regulations, not if it issues an order to negotiate.”

On May 29, Trump said Washington wasn’t looking for “regime change” in Iran.

“It has a chance to be a great country with the same leadership… We aren’t looking for regime change — I just want to make that clear,” Trump said.

Rohani noted Trump’s remarks.

“The same enemy which declared its aim last year to destroy the Islamic republic of Iran today explicitly states that it does not want to do anything to [our] system,” Rohani said.