Sunday, January 29, 2023

Rouhani Says US Burned Bridges for Talks with Iran

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has once again dismissed Washington’s offer of talks, which followed its unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, saying the US, itself, burned its bridges for negotiations with Tehran.

Currently, the Islamic Republic is holding talks with the entire world, the Iranian chief executive told a government meeting on Wednesday.

Rouhani, however, said, “The US itself has acted in such a way that has destroyed the circumstances required for negotiations. It has burned its bridges.”

“Now, the US is standing on the other side,” wondering how to cross, the president noted, adding, “If it is honest, it should fix that bridge again.”

In a hostile move, US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington in May from the landmark nuclear agreement and decided to re-impose the unilateral sanctions against Iran.

The White House has vowed the “strongest sanctions in history” against Iran unless the country fulfills a list of demands.

The US president said on July 30 that he is ready to meet his Iranian counterpart “any time they want to,” adding, “No preconditions. If they want to meet, I’ll meet.”

Trump’s offer of talks came only days after he threatened Iran in a tweet addressed to President Rouhani and said, “You will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”

In response, Iranian statesmen and military officials joined voices to reject that offer, saying Tehran will not negotiate under pressure and threats.

On Monday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the Islamic Republic would not enter into new negotiations with the United States due to the cheating and bullying nature of its government.

Caspian summit

Elsewhere, Rouhani also said Iran had held “very cordial and good” talks with its neighbors during the 5th Caspian Summit, which was recently held in the Kazakh port city of Aktau.

The Iranian president and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif joined the summit on behalf of the Islamic Republic. The summit featured the signing of a historic convention on the Caspian Sea’s legal status.

Rouhani said talks over the resource-rich sea had been underway for more than 20 years, noting that some issues were resolved during the most recent round of talks.

Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan agreed on certain issues concerning the sea’s northern part. Moscow was found entitled to 17 percent of the maritime expanse, Rouhani said. Iran, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan agreed over a number of issues pertaining to the southern side, he added.

He, especially, hailed the resolution of the outstanding issues regarding the Caspian “security” during the summit.

“The US and the NATO [military alliance] had plotted to establish their presence on the Caspian coasts and deploy their forces there,” Rouhani said.

“Based on this agreement, however, the establishment of military bases and the presence of foreign vessels in the Caspian Sea were banned,” he said, adding, “It was agreed that any ship seeking to sail in the sea should [do so] under the flag of one of the five littoral states.”

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