‘Maximum pressure’ has produced ‘maximum resistance’, says Iran’s Araqchi

September 23, 2019

TEHRAN – Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has said that “maximum pressure” from the United States has produced “maximum resistance” from Iran, and that Tehran will continue to resist.

Speaking at the Iranian mission to the UN in New York, Araqchi rejected the prospects of negotiations until the U.S. stops its campaign of maximum pressure on Tehran, The Independent reported on Sunday.

He said “to get real negotiations started, this economic war has to end,” referring to U.S. sanctions that Iran also describes as “economic terrorism”.

“And to end this economic war, we first need a ceasefire in order to do real negotiations and find sustainable solutions,” Araqchi said.

“Not only us, but no country will negotiate under pressure,” he added.

This year’s UNGA meeting comes amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf following a 14 September attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil fields, which the Saudis and their Western allies blamed on Iran.

Yemen’s Houthi forces claimed responsibility for the attack and Tehran has denied it was involved.

Asked what Tehran would do if the maximum pressure from Washington turns into military pressure, Araqchi said, “Then we will resist militarily.”

The Islamic Republic has warned Washington that any military action against Iran will lead to an “all-out war”.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump has shown willingness for a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani at the gathering of the world leaders in New York. Tehran, however, dismissed the possibility of such meeting last Monday, saying “neither is such a plan on our agenda nor will such a thing happen.”

However, Araqchi suggested that President Rouhani would be willing to meet with his American counterpart in a multilateral setting if the U.S. returned to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear deal.

“If Trump returns to the JCPOA, we will again negotiate with the United States in the format of a P5+1 meeting”, he said.

Tensions have been high since Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal last year and re-imposed sanctions on all major industries in Iran, including oil and petrochemicals exports.

Iran has stayed in the deal with the other signatories, but has started to gradually reduce its commitments to the JCPOA.

French President Emmanuel Macron has started mediation efforts between Iran and the U.S., in the hope of reducing tensions.

Araqchi, who was one of the top negotiators of the Iran nuclear deal, explained: “Mr. Macron and Rouhani’s plan is to have a ceasefire to be able to conduct real extensive negotiations and find a long term solution.”

He added: “This is the path and the roadmap that we believe will work.”

“Otherwise without a ceasefire and under pressure, no country will negotiate and neither will we.”

“If we get to sell our oil, we will return to full compliance of the deal,” said Araqchi.

“But meeting with Trump is a different discussion,” he added.

Asked whether Tehran is ready to stay in this resistance mode for the next two to six years, considering Trump may very well win re-election, Araqchi said: “We will continue ultimate resistance in the face of maximum pressure. If they put maximum pressure aside, the path to negotiation will open.”

MH/PA

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