Rouhani says Iran resists sanctions without closing door to diplomacy

December 4, 2019

TEHRAN – President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that Iran is resisting sanctions but his country has not closed the door to negotiations.

“We have no way but resistance against sanctions, however, we have not closed door of negotiations,” Rouhani said during a speech at Insurance and Development Conference.
 
The president said if the sanctions against Iran are lifted he will be ready to meet the leaders of the countries party to the 2015 nuclear deal.
 
“If they remove sanctions, we are prepared for talks at the level of 5+1 group’s heads of states,” Rouhani remarked.

The nuclear deal was signed between Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council) plus Germany in July 2015. 

Under the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and confirmed by the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, Iran was obligated to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for termination of economic and financial sanctions.

However, Donald Trump, a presidential candidate favored by hawks in the U.S. and Israel, started harsh attacks against the JCPOA, vowing to tear it up if elected president.  

Finally, in May 2018, he officially abandoned the JCPOA and introduced the harshest ever sanctions in history against Iran. 

“If they remove sanctions, we are prepared for talks at the level of 5+1 group’s heads of states,” Rouhani says.The Trump administration not only returned the previous sanctions lifted under the nuclear deal it added new ones, including a total ban on Iran’s oil exports.

Trump’s administration has even threatened to penalize any country or company that does business with Iran. 

Rouhani says he answered Obama’s phone call upon advice by advisers 

Rouhani also pointing to his phone conversation with Barack Obama, the former U.S. president, in 2013, when the nuclear negotiations were underway between Iran and the 5+1 group.

“My advisers who accompanied me in visit to New York convinced me to answer phone call of the United States’ president for progress in talks. I had doubts to do so, but all my advisers unanimously told me to do so and I accepted. So, at the last moments when I was leaving New York, the United States’ president called and I answered.” 

He added that the phone conversation lasted for 15-20 minutes and it acted like a “very strong locomotive for movement of the trains of talks.”

“We talked about the framework and he raised three issues. I told him we are not ready for the three issues. However, if the first issue which is nuclear related is negotiated and settled and you implemented it, negotiations on the second and third issues will be put on agenda,” Rouhani explained.

Rouhani did not refer to the two other issues.

He added, “This move (phone talks) resulted in reaching the Geneva agreement in less than 100 days and temporary removal of sanctions in various areas and also return of 700 million dollars of Iran’s blocked money in banks on a monthly basis. The most important achievement of this agreement was recognizing Iran’s right to enrich uranium in that 100-day talks.”

Elsewhere, Rouhani said that the nuclear deal could have bee reached sooner than 2015 but it was delayed to disruptive efforts by Saudi Arabia and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

“You know, we could reach the final deal in 2014; however, it was delayed to 2015 because of the pressure by the Saudis and Zionists. You know that the Saudi foreign minister and the Israeli prime minister went to Vienna (venue of the nuclear talks) and promised the United States to reduce oil price to make Iran sign whatever you say and not this agreement which is ready today. They talked with the United States when the deal was ready,” the president stated.

However, he said, Iran resisted and controlled inflations despite a sharp decrease in oil prices.

“Our economic condition was stabilized and they saw that they could not succeed and told Saudi Arabia and the Zionist regime that you are wrong and Iran will not surrender and signed the deal in 2015,” Rouhani said.

‘Trump was deceived into quitting nuclear deal’

Rouhani also said that Trump was deceived into quitting the JCPOA.

“They deceived him into quitting the JCPOA and imposing sanctions against Iran to cause collapse of the system… They did not know that the Iranian people stand by their country’s independence and dignity,” the president remarked.

He also said, “They violated the deal and it should be remained in our historical memory that Iran signed an agreement with six of the world’s major powers and violated it. We are still committed to the deal and reducing our commitments is within the framework of the agreement.”

In response to the abrogation of the JCPOA by the U.S. and a failure by the remaining parties, particularly the Europeans, to protect Iran’s economy from the sanctions effects Iran has started to partially reduce its commitments to the JCPOA in accordance to the paragraph 36 of the multilateral agreement.
  
(Paragraph 36 provided a mechanism to resolve disputes and allows one side, under certain circumstances, to stop complying with the deal if the other side is out of compliance.)

Iran started to scale down its commitments after waiting for a full year that the remaining parties honor their obligations.
 
However, Tehran has insisted if sanctions are lifted it will immediately reverse its decisions.

NA/PA

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