Iranian President: First Lift Sanctions, Then Let's Talk
Wednesday, 28 August 2019 00:04 WIB | GLOBAL |Global

Iran's president back-pedaled Tuesday on possible talks with Donald Trump, saying the U.S. president must first lift sanctions imposed on Tehran, otherwise a meeting between the two would be a mere photo op.

Hassan Rouhani's change of heart came a day after Trump said Monday that there's a œreally good chance the two could meet on their nuclear impasse after a surprise intervention by French President Emmanuel Macron during the G-7 summit to try to bring Washington and Tehran together after decades of conflict.

œWithout the U.S.'s withdrawal from sanctions, we will not witness any positive development, Rouhani said in a televised speech on Tuesday, adding that Washington œholds the key as to what happens next.

Earlier on Monday, Rouhani expressed readiness to negotiate a way out of the crisis following America™s pullout from the nuclear deal.

Rouhani also shielded his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, against criticism from hard-liners over his surprise visit Sunday to France's Biarritz, where leaders of the Group of Seven rich democracies were meeting.

Iran's English-language Press TV issued a vague, anonymous statement later on Monday, rejecting Macron's initiative.

Macron said he hoped Trump and Rouhani could meet within weeks in hopes of saving the 2015 nuclear deal that Tehran struck with world powers, but which the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from last year. Under the deal, Iran agreed to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Inviting Zarif to the G-7 summit as a surprise guest was a risky diplomatic maneuver but it helped create œthe possible conditions of a useful meeting, Macron said.

It™s France's responsibility to play the œrole of a balancing power, Macron said, adding that his efforts allowed hope for a œde-escalation of tensions.

Since the U.S. pullout from the nuclear deal, Iran has lost billions of dollars in business deals allowed by the accord as the U.S. re-imposed and escalated sanctions largely blocking Tehran from selling crude abroad, a crucial source of hard currency for the Islamic Republic.

Source : VOA

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