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Iran’s Rohani says no talks with US unless sanctions lifted first

President of Iran Hassan Rouhani (Official Internet Resources of the President of Russia/Released)

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

Iran won’t talk to the United States unless it lifts all the sanctions Washington has imposed on Tehran, President Hassan Rohani has said, after President Donald Trump said he was open to meeting him under the “right” circumstances.

In an August 27 speech broadcast live on state television, Rohani said that Iran is ready to hold talks, “but first the U.S. should act by lifting all illegal, unjust, and unfair sanctions imposed on Iran.”

Rohani reiterated that his country “has never wanted nuclear weapons” and said Tehran “will continue to scale back our commitments under the 2015 deal if our interests are not guaranteed.”

Tensions between Iran and the United States have ramped up since Washington last year withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers and reimposed crippling sanctions on the Iranian economy.

Five other signatories, including France, Britain, and Germany, remain committed to the accord under which Tehran agreed to rein in its nuclear activities in return for an easing of sanctions.

Iran, however, has begun reducing some of its commitments under the agreement.

Trump, speaking at the close of a Group of Seven (G7) summit in France on August 26, said he would agree to meet Rohani if “the circumstances were correct or right.”

He also said he had “good feelings” about the prospect of a new nuclear deal with Iran.

“We are looking for no nuclear weapons, no ballistic missiles, and a longer period of time. Very simple,” the U.S. president said.

Trump said he believed it was realistic he could meet with Rohani within weeks, following a series of diplomatic initiatives by French President Emmanuel Macron, who earlier voiced hope that “in coming weeks, based on these talks, we can manage to make happen a summit” between the U.S. and Iranian presidents.