Iran demands U.S. 'pay more' for a wider deal
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani demanded that the United States “pay more” for any agreement that goes beyond the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that Washington abandoned, Trend with reference to Reuters reports.
Rouhani also rejected meeting U.S. President Donald Trump while the two are in New York this week for the annual United Nations General Assembly, but both U.S. and Iranian officials suggested they have some interest in a negotiation.
It remains unclear how one might happen given Tehran’s demand that Washington first ease sanctions that have blighted its economy and the U.S. imposition of fresh penalties as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign.
“Our response to talks under pressure is ‘No,’” Rouhani said in a speech to the General Assembly even as the United States tightened the vise by blacklisting Chinese firms for dealing in Iranian oil despite U.S. sanctions.
The U.S.-Iranian confrontation has ratcheted up since last year, when Trump withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal with major powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled the Islamic republic’s economy.
Trump wants to go beyond that deal to further curb Iran’s nuclear program, halt its ballistic missile work and end its support for proxy forces in the Middle East.
“If you wish more, if you require more, you should give and pay more,” Rouhani said in his General Assembly address, without giving details.
In his own speech on Tuesday, Trump accused Iranian leaders of “bloodlust” and called on other nations to put pressure on Iran after Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi oil facilities that Washington blames on Tehran despite its denials.
The United States plans to increase its military presence in Saudi Arabia following the attacks.
Rouhani, however, said the Gulf region is “on the edge of collapse, as a single blunder can fuel a big fire,” and vowed to respond “decisively and strongly” to any foreign violation of its security or territorial integrity.
Trump had said there was still a path to peace and Rouhani has left the door open to diplomacy, saying that if sanctions were lifted, Washington could join nuclear talks between Tehran and other powers.
“We want a peaceful resolution with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters, saying it was up to Iran. “We hope we get the opportunity to negotiate with them.”
The United States has also been reaching out to Iranian officials to discuss the fate of American nationals held in Iran, a U.S. State Department official said.