EghtesadOnline: President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that relations between Iran and the United States will only see a positive development when Americans end all their sanctions on Tehran.
"Unless the first step, which is the lifting of wrong and cruel sanctions against the Iranian nation, is taken by you [the US], this lock will not be open," he was quoted as saying by his website.
Tehran and Washington have been stuck in a standoff over the 2015 nuclear deal since US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the accord last year and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Iranian economy.
Trump argued that the deal was flawed and had to be renegotiated to place more limits on Iran's activities, including its missile program and regional policies, Financial Tribune reported.
Iran refuses to enter into talks under pressure and has declared repeatedly that its defensive power is not negotiable. It has also reacted to the hostile measures by reducing its commitment to the pact, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
European leaders have struggled to calm the deepening confrontation between Tehran and Washington, with French President Emmanuel Macron spending the summer trying to create conditions that would help bring the two sides back to the negotiating table.
In a recent meeting with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Paris ahead of last weekend's G7 summit, Macron presented a proposal to either soften sanctions on Iran or provide a compensation mechanism in return for Tehran's full compliance with the pact.
He later said in a news conference that Rouhani had told him he would be open to meeting Trump and he hoped a summit between the two could happen in coming weeks, Reuters reported.
No Sanctions Waiver
Trump endorsed the initiative and toned down his rhetoric on Tehran, but speaking at a G7 summit, he ruled out lifting economic sanctions to compensate for losses suffered by Iran.
He said he was not open to giving Iran compensation for sanctions, but the idea under discussion would be for numerous countries to give Iran a credit line.
"So we are really talking about a letter of credit. It would be from numerous countries," he said.
Trump also said he would bring up the missile issue with Iran in a possible future meeting.
"What we want is very simple. It's got to be non-nuclear … We're going to talk about ballistic missiles..., about the timing. But they [Iran] have to stop terrorism."
Rouhani had signaled readiness for holding a meeting in his Monday speech.
"If I know that in meeting with somebody the problem of my country would be solved, I wouldn't hesitate because the central issue is the national interests of the country."
He, however, stressed on Tuesday, that the principles of the country's foreign policy have not changed, making implicit reference to Iran's stated precondition for negotiation with the US that is the complete lifting of sanctions.
Return to Commitments
A change in our behavior with those who placed sanctions on Iran and committed an act of economic terrorism begins with their penitence and they should return to their commitments [under the nuclear deal], he said.
The six world powers had agreed in 2015 to lift all sanctions on Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
Zarif also said during his diplomatic mission in China on Tuesday that he had officially announced in Paris that no meeting would be held with American officials.
"No meeting between the Iranian president and Trump is conceivable unless the US returns to the 5+1 [six world powers that signed the nuclear deal] and implements the JCPOA; even at that time, there will not be a bilateral meeting," he said.
Rouhani also described the US claim that it demands nothing of Iran, except that it does not build nuclear weapons as a wrong statement since Iran does not seek to make such weapons.
"Our military doctrine is based on conventional weapons and we are by no means looking to make weapons of mass destruction," he said.
The policy, he stressed, has not been adopted due to foreign pressure, but based on the country's ethical beliefs, national security decisions and the decree of the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
Rouhani said, "the key to positive developments in the two countries' relations lies with Washington, so that they can enjoy security in the region and have better relations with countries of the [Middle East] region".
He added that if the US makes that initiative, circumstances would change because his administration gives priority to the country's national interests.
"We have been and are a man of negotiation and the world acknowledges that," he said.