Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has downplayed the chance of a meeting with his American counterpart Donald Trump this week, and blamed him for damaging relations between the two countries.
The president made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Fox News‘ Chris Wallace on Tuesday during his stay in New York, where is attending an annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.
“Why would we bump into one another?” the Iranian leader told Wallace. “If we seek to pursue higher goals to benefit both countries, both people, it must be planned, and talks must be based on those plans.”
“But prior to that, we must create mutual trust, and the trust is something that Mr. Trump took away from this framework. We had an agreement. Mr. Trump exited without a valid justification, and illegally, from an international agreement.”
“So, if the United States of America’s government is willing to talk, it must create the needed conditions,” he noted.
The comments came after Trump said Sunday he had “no intention” of meeting with Rouhani during the summit in New York City. “Nothing is ever off the table completely, but I have no intention of meeting with Iran,” Trump told reporters.
“Once we carried on negotiations with the United States of America for two years, and during a 17-day period, the foreign minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the US Secretary of State had continuous talks without returning to their countries. It was extremely difficult, but we did reach an agreement which was signed, and it was enshrined in the United Nations Security Council resolution, and without a valid reason or cause, the United States left this agreement.”
“So, it took away the foundation of the needed trust. I think more than the issues it touched upon, the most basic needed issue is trust, and Mr. Trump damaged the trust between the two countries. So, this is very important.”
Rouhani then suggested a key way to rebuilding trust would be removing sanctions against his country, which he described as “a type of terrorism.”
He continued, “Trust must be restored, and the restoration of trust consists in taking away the pressure imposed upon the nation and the people of Iran which show that clearly there is animosity even towards our children, our ill people, because we — they even have difficulty in obtaining basic medications and medical equipment.”
Rouhani went on, “This is a type of terrorism. This is inhumane, and if there is a cessation to this, then, of course, the atmosphere will change. Of course, then it can be envisioned, and we can talk about many different topics of mutual interest for both sides.”
Earlier in the interview, Rouhani stated that America, not Iran, was the key supporter of Middle East terrorism.
“I am amazed at the interpretations of Mr. Trump, vis-a-vis terrorism,” Rouhani said.
“Today, America, unfortunately, is the supporter of terrorism in our region — and wherever America has gone, terrorism has expanded in the wake.”
Rouhani pointed to US military involvement in Syria without the permission of President Bashar al-Assad as an example of what he considered to be such American terrorism.”
“The country that is present and flying over the air space of and bombarding the soil of the country of Syria without permission of the government is the United States of America.”
Wallace had asked Rouhani about Trump’s UN speech earlier Tuesday, in which he referenced Iran’s “blood lust” and “fanatical quest for nuclear weapons” when the Iranian leader gave that response.