Iran has no intention to hold ‘bilateral’ talks with US: Pres. Rouhani

TEHRAN, Sep. 03 (MNA) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that holding ‘'bilateral’ talks with the United States is not on the table.

“We’ve said it before time and again, and we say it again: We have no intention to hold bilateral talks with the United States. We never did and never will. It has been the case in the past year and a half, and even in previous years. There have been calls for talks, but we never responded to them,” the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a Parliament session on Tuesday.

Rouhani was attending the session to defend his two candidates for the ministry of education and the ministry of tourism and cultural heritage.

Stressing that holding bilateral talks with the US is not on the table, Rouhani added “we said that the US, as part of the 5+1, held talks with us and we took part in the talks. If the US lifts all of its sanctions against Iran, whether it returns to the JCPOA or not, it does not matter to us, but if it lifts all sanctions, it is still possible for the US to be part of the 5+1; granted that it first removes all sanctions.”

"When we talk about negotiations, we only mean it under the situation where all sanctions have been lifted; that is, the situation we previously had under the JCPOA. Our stance is clear," Rouhani stressed. 

Tensions started to build up between the US and Iran after President Trump withdrew Washington from the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018, and imposed sanctions against Tehran in a bid to restrict the country's trade transactions with the world. The Trump administration has been making empty calls for talks, but the Islamic Republic stresses that as long as sanctions are in place and the US refuses to return to the JCPOA, negotiations will be meaningless. 

"Our progress is a testament to the fact that resisting [against pressure] works. On the other hand, an active diplomacy can pave the way for us. We have never closed the doors of diplomacy and never will do so...we don't believe that only one of these two tools should be used," said Rouhani.

About Iran's measures to scale down commitments to the JCPOA, Rouhani said "If the remaining signatories to the nuclear deal can live up to a part of their commitments, we may reconsider reducing our commitments. But if they fail to take any solid step, we will definitely take the third step in a few days."

As a first step, Iran increased its enriched uranium stockpile to beyond the 300 kilograms set by the JCPOA. Next, it announced that it had begun enriching uranium to purity rates beyond the JCPOA-limit of 3.76 percent.

Rouhani went on to add, "the further we move along this path, it may make solving the issue more difficult, but since our steps are designed in a way that we can return to the starting point at any given time we desire, it will not take any time, and we will continue our talks even after taking the third step."

"The basis of our talks with the European side is that we want them to pre-purchase our oil and the revenues to be in our possession. This will ease the situation for us to decide against making more cuts to our commitments to the JCPOA," Rouhani added. 

"We haven't reached a final agreement yet, but negotiations are still underway. If we fail to reach a conclusive result by Thursday, we will announce the third stage of our cuts to the JCPOA commitments," Rouhani concluded.

Some officials have noted that Iran's measures for the third step may include installing a new generation of centrifuges, increasing the stockpile of enriched uranium, or restoring  the Arak heavy water reactor to its previous design.


News Code 149635


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