EghtesadOnline: Iran is ready to engage in talks if the United States lifts the sanctions it has reimposed following its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday.
"We are always ready for dialogue. If you end your bullying and sanctions this very moment and return to logic, we are ready for talks," Rouhani, addressing the Americans, said during a meeting of the administrative council of North Khorasan Province, his website reported.
US President Donald Trump has said he is open to negotiations with Iran on a more far-reaching agreement on its nuclear and missile activities. However, Tehran has said the nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, should serve as the basis for any talks and has ruled out negotiations over its defense program.
In an interview with the Washington Post on Sunday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dismissed Rouhani's idea as "the same offer that he offered to John F. Kerry and Barack Obama", referring to the former US secretary of state and president, Financial Tribune reported.
"President Trump will obviously make the final decision. But this is a path that the previous administration had gone down and it led to the JCPOA, which this administration, President Trump and I both believe was a disaster," the chief US diplomat said.
Tensions between the United States and Iran have risen sharply in the past several months since Washington began ramping up sanctions on Iran's oil industry. In calibrated steps of response, Iran has surpassed limits of uranium stockpiles and enrichment agreed to in the nuclear deal for the first time since it took effect in 2016.
Rouhani said Iran gave the remaining signatories enough time to offset the US exit.
"Some parties to the JCPOA, including Russia and China, took certain steps and are having good cooperation with Iran, but the Europeans did not or could not fulfill their obligations."
He added that the Islamic Republic chose the path of "strategic patience" for a long while but could no longer sit idly by, in the face of Europe's failure to make good on its promises to guarantee Iran's interests under the deal.
The EU recently announced that a long-planned trading mechanism with Iran, the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges or INSTEX, had finally been established and the first transactions completed.
It would initially only deal in products such as pharmaceuticals and foods, which are not subject to US sanctions. Iranian officials have repeatedly said the trade vehicle must include oil sales or provide substantial credit facilities for it to become beneficial.
Rouhani said Washington's policies toward Iran have failed to achieve the intended objectives, vowing that the nation will continue to resist US pressure.