EghtesadOnline: Iran is still determined to pursue a policy of "constructive engagement" with the world, President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday, adding that dialogue with the United States is possible if all sanctions are lifted.
"Taking on the path of confrontation with the world is very easy. What is difficult is to have constructive interaction with the world," the president said during a meeting with Foreign Ministry officials in Tehran, his website reported.
Rouhani, who won two landslide elections on a platform of economic reform and opening Iran up to the outside world, said his administration insisted on engaging constructively with the world in the past and still does because such an approach represents the will of Iranian people.
The Leader has also repeatedly emphasized the importance of cooperating with other countries, Financial Tribune quoted the president as saying. "We should always take people's opinion into consideration and refrain from imposing our will on them."
US Offer of Dialogue
On Washington's offer of dialogue, he said the Islamic Republic favors negotiations and is ready to hold talks with the United States if Washington ends sanctions.
"If the United States really wants to talk, before anything else it should lift all sanctions," Rouhani said.
However, he questioned the sincerity of US President Donald Trump, saying that "the Americans imposed sanctions on our foreign minister while talking about dialogue."
The United States imposed sanctions on Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on July 31 for advancing the agenda of the establishment in Tehran and being its "primary spokesperson around the world."
Rouhani praised the chief diplomat's track record and said such moves by the Trump administration shows that it has "no right policies in place" and keeps changing its position. "They themselves do not know what they want."
Tensions have risen between Iran and the West since last year when the United States pulled out of an international agreement—which put curbs on Iran's nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions—and reimposed and toughened sanctions on the OPEC producer, including restrictions on its oil sales.
Rouhani said the "only way" to resolve the current impasse is that Trump reverses his policy on Iran and added that sanctions will not bring Iran to its knees.
'Mother of All Wars'
He also reiterated his warning that war with Iran will have serious wide-reaching repercussions.
"War with Iran is the mother of all wars," the president said, addressing the West. "If you want security and want your forces in the region to be safe, beware that…you cannot harm Iran's interests and expect security in return."
"Peace for peace, and oil for oil," he said, adding, "It cannot be that the Strait of Hormuz is free for you and the Strait of Gibraltar is not free for us."
He was referring to the fact that Iranian forces seized British-flagged tanker Stena Impero near the Strait of Hormuz in July for marine violations, two weeks after British forces captured an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar accused of violating sanctions on Syria. Both sides deny any wrongdoing.