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Rouhani Says Iran Ready to Talk to US if it Lifts Sanctions as Europeans Voice Concern

Rouhani Says Iran Ready to Talk to US if it Lifts Sanctions as Europeans Voice Concern

Sunday, 14 July, 2019 - 17:30
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that Tehran would be ready to talk to the United States if it lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal.

“We have always believed in talks ... if they lift sanctions, end the imposed economic pressure and return to the deal, we are ready to hold talks with America today, right now and anywhere,” he said in a televised speech.

The US quit the accord with world powers in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran.

US President Donald Trump’s administration says it is open to negotiations with Iran on a more far-reaching agreement on nuclear and security issues.

But Iran has made any talks conditional on first being able to export as much oil as it did before the US withdrew from the pact.

Confrontations between Washington and Tehran have escalated, culminating in a plan for US airstrikes on Iran last month that Trump called off at the last minute.

Calling for dialogue between all parties to resume, France, Britain and Germany — parties to the 2015 pact — said on Sunday they were preoccupied by the escalation of tensions in the Gulf region and the risk the nuclear deal might fall apart.

"We believe the time has come to act responsibly and seek a path to stop the escalation of tensions and resume dialogue," said the English-language version of the statement issued by the Elysee.

The statement was published after President Emmanuel Macron hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel and senior British cabinet minister David Lidington at the annual Bastille Day parade in Paris.

"The risks are such that it is necessary for all stakeholders to pause and consider the possible consequences of their actions," it added.

Trump said on Wednesday that US sanctions on Iran would soon be increased “substantially”.

In reaction to US sanctions, which have notably targeted Iran’s main foreign revenue stream in the shape of crude oil exports, Tehran announced in May that it would scale back its commitments under the deal.

Defying a warning by the European parties to the pact to continue its full compliance, Tehran has amassed more low-enriched uranium than permitted and it has started to enrich uranium above the 3.67% permitted by the agreement.

"We are extremely concerned by Iran's decision to stockpile and enrich uranium in excess of authorized limits," France, Britain and Germany said.

"We strongly urge Iran to reverse its recent decisions in this regard," the statement said.

They said they would continue to support the nuclear deal but said its implementation "was contingent on Iran´s full compliance."

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