Advertisement
Politics

Iranian president warns U.S., no talks on nuclear impasse if sanctions not lifted

WATCH: U.S. President Donald Trump has revealed he's open to meeting with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani to revisit nuclear talks. During a nearly 70-minute long press conference at the G7 summit in France, Trump also suggested that he wants a new trade deal with China. Jackson Proskow reports on the president's stunning admissions.

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 “really 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.

WATCH: Oman will not mediate in rising tensions within Gulf region

Oman will not mediate in rising tensions within Gulf region
Oman will not mediate in rising tensions within Gulf region

“Without 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 “holds the key” as to what happens next.

“If someone intends to make it as just a photo op with Rouhani, that is not possible,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

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

“If I knew that going to a meeting and visiting a person would help my country’s development and resolve the problems of the people, I would not miss it,” he had said. “Even if the odds of success are not 90% but are 20% or 10%, we must move ahead with it. We should not miss opportunities.”

WATCH: Emmanuel Macron to speak with Iran’s Rouhani, Putin and Trump to salvage nuclear agreement

Emmanuel Macron to speak with Iran’s Rouhani, Putin and Trump to salvage nuclear agreement
Emmanuel Macron to speak with Iran’s Rouhani, Putin and Trump to salvage nuclear agreement

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.

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.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Macron attempts to arrange meeting between Trump, Iranian leader

Rouhani’s U-turn can be seen as a result of pressure from hard-liners in the Iranian establishment who oppose taking a softer tone toward the West.

The hard-line Javan daily, which is close to Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, warned Rouhani in large font on its Tuesday front page: “Mr. Rouhani, photo diplomacy will not develop the country.”

 

Global News Redesign Global News Redesign
A fresh new look for Global News is here, tell us what you think
Take a Survey

Sponsored Stories