News : Nuclear

Rouhani: Iran Will Never Hold Bilateral Talks with US over the Nuclear Deal

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that Iran will never hold bilateral talks with the United States but that the US could join multilateral talks between Iran and the other signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal if the US lifts all the sanctions it reimposed on Iran.

In an open session of parliament, which was broadcast live on state radio, Rouhani said: “No decision has ever been taken to hold talks with the U.S. and there has been a lot of offers for talks but our answer will always be negative. If America lifts all the sanctions then like before it can join multilateral talks between Tehran and parties to the 2015 deal.”

Donald Trump offered to hold unconditional bilateral talks with his Iranian counterpart in order to end the confrontation between their countries, although he insisted that he would continue with his “maximum pressure” approach towards Tehran.

Rouhani had originally said last month that Iran wouldn’t talk to the US unless it lifted all of the sanctions it had imposed on Iran after exiting the nuclear deal last May.

The European signatories have been trying to ease the dispute between the two nations and salvage the deal by protecting the Iranian economy as much as possible, culminating in French President Emmanuel Macron inviting Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to the G7 last month.

However, France, Germany, and the UK have warned that their support for the 2015 accord is dependent on Iran’s full commitment to it, which means that Iran's recent threats have been ill-received.

On Tuesday, Rouhani threatened that Iran would further scale back its nuclear commitments by Thursday, September 5, unless the Europeans managed to save the deal and protect Iran from all economic sanctions.

He said: “If Europeans can purchase our oil or pre-purchase it and we can have access to our money, that will ease the situation and we can fully implement the deal... otherwise we will take our third step.”

The 2015 deal was supposed to curb Iran’s nuclear work in exchange for sanctions relief, but Trump pulled out of the deal, citing Iranian non-compliance, and reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy particularly its oil industry.

In May 2019, Iran began to scale back its nuclear commitments as part of their threats toward the European countries. They said their next step might be enriching uranium to 20% or restarting centrifuges, which purify uranium to make nuclear weapons.

Iran has already increased its stockpile of heavy water and its enrichment of uranium beyond the limits allowed under the accord