– Despite President Donald Trump’s offer to begin talks with Iran, Tehran officials said Tuesday that can only happen if the United States returns to the 2015 nuclear deal.
Trump said Monday he’s willing to meet with Rouhani with “no preconditions,” an offer that came after incendiary comments were exchanged between the two leaders last week.
An adviser to Rouhani said Tuesday, though, the Iranian leader would mandate a U.S. return to the landmark nuclear pact, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as a requirement for any discussions.
“Respect for the great nation of Iran, the reduction of hostilities, and America’s return to the JCPOA, will smooth the path past the current rocky relations,” adviser Hamid Aboutalebi said.
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Aboutalebi said Iran has been open to dialogue with the United States in the past, and pointed out that Rouhani even had a phone call with President Barack Obama in 2013.
A return by the Trump administration to the deal, though, is considered highly unlikely. He officially withdrew in May after having called the agreement “one of the worst deals in history.”
Trump’s offer came after a fiery exchange that began with Rouhani saying, “Mr. Trump, we are the honest men who have throughout history guaranteed the safety of this region’s waterways. Do not play with the lion’s tail, it will bring regret.”
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Trump answered, “Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”
Trump has said he plans to reimpose sanctions on Iran, which could cause Iran’s oil exports to fall by up to a third by the end of the year.
Rouhani said in a meeting with British Ambassador Rob Macaire Tuesday Tehran will not give up its rights to export oil, and called the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear pact illegal.
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“Today, we are in a very critical point in history regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and Europe’s transparent measures to compensate for the U.S.’ unlawful withdrawal from the deal is very important for the Iranian nation,” he said.
Rouhani also noted several European countries are still committed to the deal.
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