Rouhani says Iran’s status has improved over the past year and a half

October 2, 2019

TEHRAN – President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that despite economic pressure Iran’s status has improved over the past year and a half.

“The Iranian nation’s power and status have improved after one-and-a-half-year of constant economic pressure,” Rouhani told a cabinet meeting.

Pointing to his speech at the 74th summit of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 25, Rouhani also said that Iran “foiled the plot by the enemies” that Tehran was seeking tension in the Persian Gulf region.

“The anti-Iran lobby had hatched a plot and tried to tell the world that Iran was seeking to start tension in the sensitive region of the Persian Gulf,” he said, adding, “It was essential to break this plot and to tell the world that no one can deny the fact that Iran has been supporting resistance (against invaders) and fight against terrorism.” 

At the same time, Rouhani said, Iran proved that it does not shun negotiations.

“Iran foiled the plot which had been hatched, and proved that it does not escape negotiations.”

He also said despite efforts by Israel and certain regional countries which have been trying to covey this idea that the treaty keeping the nuclear deal (JCPOA) has broken apart, the remaining members made efforts to give new life to it. 

“The 5+1 group, which was dead in view of Israel, regional reactionary countries and the White House, gathered and sought to revive the 5+1 group,” he said.

He continued, “All the contacts and insistence revolved around the issue of reviving the 5+1 group. We agreed on the condition that those who caused harm to the group return to it and respect its regulations.”

Rouhani held one-to-one talks at the UN with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson whose countries are a signatory to the JCPOA.

The 5+1 group is now referred to as 4+1 as Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned the deal in May 2018 and restored old sanctions and ordered new ones. 

Elsewhere, Rouhani said that France had proposed an initiative as a basis for talks to revitalize the implementation of the JCPOA that its “generality was acceptable”.

He praised efforts by Macron and said the White House was responsible for the failure of the initiative.

“I told our European friends what we should accept? Should we accept what you say about the United States’ preparation (for removing sanctions) or what the United States President [Donald Trump] says about tightening sanctions?” he said.

Reuters reported on Wednesday, before leaving New York last week, Macron made a failed last-minute push to get Trump and Rouhani to speak on the sidelines of the annual UN gathering of world leaders, according to several sources familiar with the situation.

Iran has been insisting that the only path to negotiations between Tehran and Washington is that the United States lift all the sanctions that it has illegally and unilaterally imposed on the country.

In an interview with Fox News aired on September 24, Rouhani said if the U.S. administration is really seeking dialogue with Iran “it must create the needed conditions.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that any meeting between Iran and leaders of the 5+1 group depends on the removal of sanctions.

“Our condition was that there would be no bilateral talks between Rouhani and Trump and the meeting should be within the framework of the 5+1 group on the condition of removal of sanctions. However, Trump did not even say that the sanctions will be removed after the meeting. He said first the meeting should be held and then there was the possibility of removing sanctions,” ISNA quoted Zarif as saying on Monday in an interview with Al Mayadeen.

NA/PA

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