By Mehdi Sepahvand, Political Editor

Rouhani says U.S. ruined opportunity for further talks with Iran

February 6, 2018 - 20:16

TEHRAN - President Hassan Rouhani says by “failing to seize the JCPOA atmosphere”, the United States missed the chance to improve its ties with Tehran, noting that if Washington had shown some commitment to the nuclear deal, talks on other issues would have been possible.

“Had America acted to its entire commitments under the JCPOA, a new situation could have been established,” Rouhani told a press conference.

“It is a pity that they ruined this golden opportunity,” Rouhani added.

“I have always stressed that the key to future Iran-America ties is in the hands of America…. They should cease exercising pressure, threats, and sanctions. [Then] the atmosphere will change and one would be able to think about the future.”

Rouhani also said, “I am happy that after a year in the White House, Trump has not been able to fulfill his promise to tear the JCPOA as he used to shout during his electoral campaign.”

He added, “We do not know what America is going to do in the future. Even Trump’s intimate European friends do not know what he is about.”

On possible violation or renegotiation of the nuclear agreement, Rouhani said, “We will not initiate a violation of the JCPOA. The JCPOA will not grow more or less. Neither would a line be added to or omitted from it. We do not associate other issues with the JCPOA. The JCPOA is the commitment of seven countries. It is an international commitment which has been endorsed by the [UN] Security Council.”

“We have made necessary predictions and will stay in the JCPOA as long as our interests are met. Whether America stays or quits JCPOA will not impact our decision. Our decision follows our interests in JCPOA.”

“Whether America stays or quits JCPOA will not impact our decision. Our decision follows our interests in JCPOA.”

On Iran’s defense program, he said, “We will use whatever necessary to defend the country, be it airplanes, missiles, or submarines. But we are not looking for weapons of mass destruction. Not only because of our international commitments, but under the fatwa of the Leader we are not after them. Iran will not go for weapons that offend morality, Sharia, or international commitments. But we will use whatever falls within conventional weapons. We will not hold any negotiation with anybody in this regard either. Iran’s missiles have never been offensive. They have never been intended to, nor will be intended to, attack a country. Our missiles are to defend us… and neither of our missiles have been developed for mass destruction weapons, because we do not have mass destruction weapons and regard their development forbidden.”

Regarding regional issues, the president said, “We are in a complicated region and face many issues. We know the main approach is negotiation with regional countries. We are not predisposed against talks with major world countries either.”

On the developments in Syria, Rouhani said, “Many good talks have been held between Iran and Russia and there has been much positive exchange of ideas. I was speaking with Mr. Putin today, who said it is necessary that leaders of the three countries of Iran, Turkey, and Russia meet soon over a solution to the Syrian crisis. We appreciate this trend and will keep it going.”

Rouhani further said, “We have good relations with both Turkey and Russia. But our position… [demanding] the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Syria was a principled position, because the entry of the army of a country into another country should enjoy the consent of the latter country’s government and people. We consider any other condition as unprincipled and would want it to end as soon as possible because it leads to killings on both sides. This is the same as our refusal of the presence of America in Syria, because they develop wrong ideas about disintegration of Syria.”

On Israel’s regional policies, the president said, “Israel is imagining new situations. They think they stand on new ground now, that they find Trump and Kushner by their side and [now that] in Saudi Arabia people have risen to power who are not experienced enough to deal with regional issues. But they are wrong. As you saw, most world countries and almost all, except one or two, leaders of Islamic countries adopted good position vis-à-vis making al-Quds the capital of the Zionist regime.”

The president also said Saudi Arabia will realize in the future that its rapprochement with Israel was a “wrong” policy.

“Those who rule in Riyadh will understand as times passes that they chose the wrong path which will not lead them anywhere.”

Rouhani said Riyadh made efforts in the past to raise Daesh in Iraq and Syria but those moves just led to misery and destruction.

“Where did their efforts get them? Where did they get by dragging Yemen to ruins with the hope to rule it? It is wrong if they think the Zionist regime is enemy [only] with Iran and friends with other regional countries. In the past 70 years, this regime has been plotting against Islamic countries…. Want it or not, Israel is the number one enemy of the region. Want it or not, our right path lies in unity among Islamic countries and resolution of disagreements and resentments. Saudi rulers should come to their senses and consider common regional interests as well as the people of the region and their own people. We will in the meantime provide as much help as we can.”


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