Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Iranian President: Washington Sends us Daily Messages that We Should Negotiate

Iranian President: Washington Sends us Daily Messages that We Should Negotiate

Sunday, 9 September, 2018 - 08:30
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (AFP)
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Iran is continuously receiving messages from US officials through various methods asking it to begin negotiations, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday.

“From one side they try to pressure the people of Iran, on another side they send us messages every day through various methods that we should come and negotiate together,” Rouhani said in a speech broadcast on Iranian state television.

Tensions between Iran and the United States soared after President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal with Iran in May and then reimposed sanctions last month.

Rouhani's comment came days after Chairman of Iranian Assembly of Experts Ahmad Jannati announced there were “satanic attempts” to bring the president with his US counterpart together on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly at the end of the month.

Rouhani’s Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi described theses claims as “baseless”.

Rouhani asked: “(They say) we should negotiate here, we should negotiate there. We want to resolve the issues... Should we see your message?... Or should we see your brutish actions?”

Addressing US officials, he wondered: "Which one should we believe? Your soft messages, or your brutal acts? If you are truthful and like the Iranian nation, why are you pressuring them?"

Rouhani added that if the US believes that by putting pressure on Iranians, the people will head to the streets with their hands up and say “we have surrendered to America and the White House. This is your fault; this is your mistake.”

The Iranian economy has faced considerable difficulties in recent months and the rial lost about 70 percent of its value against the dollar compared to last year. Prices continued to rise and commodity shortages increased.

Since end of 2017, Iran has seen intermittent protests and Iranians chanted slogans against the government.

After the US withdrawal from the nuclear pact, Trump said he was confident Iranian officials would request negotiations and left the door open for new round of talks after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo set 12 US conditions on Tehran.

"Today, the government is on the frontlines. This is an economic, psychological and propaganda war," Rouhani said, evoking memories of the Iran-Iraq war to call for unity.

"We had sweet days and we had hard days during the sacred defense," he said, using the official name for the war with Iraq.

"But our nation never backed down. Now, too, our nation will not bow before the pressure of a new group in the White House,” he added, warning that the country cannot fight the US, the left (reformists) and the right (conservatives) at the same time.

“We cannot fight on three fronts," he stated.

The president also acknowledged the mounting economic pressure.

Rouhani made his remarks during an event named after Mohammad-Ali Rajai, Iran's second president whose assassination in August 1981 was blamed on the opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq.

Editor Picks