Iran can discuss other issues with the United States providing its 2015 nuclear deal with six powers is fully implemented, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday, adding that Tehran’s missile capabilities were not negotiable.
“First, the deal should be fully implemented … meaning that sanctions should be lifted and America should return to the nuclear deal … and then other issues can be discussed as well,” Rouhani said.
“We want America to remove its preconditions for talking to Iran, including its ‘maximum pressure’ policy against the Iranian nation” before any talks can be possible, he said at a news conference in New York during the United Nations’ annual gathering of world leaders.
The U.S.-Iranian confrontation has ratcheted up since last year, when U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy to force Tehran to renegotiate the pact.
Iran refuses to hold any talks with the United States unless Washington lifts sanctions on Tehran.
In retaliation for Washington’s “maximum pressure” policy, Iran has gradually scaled back its nuclear commitments since May. However, Rouhani said Tehran’s measures were reversible if the European parties to the pact carried out their promises to shield Iran’s economy from U.S. penalties.
“The European parties have proved their inability or lack of determination … to keep the deal alive in practice. .. They want to save the pact, but they want Iran to pay the cost for it,” said Rouhani.
Trump wants to go beyond the deal to further curb Iran’s nuclear program, halt its ballistic missile work and end its support for proxy forces in the Middle East.
But Rouhani, stating Iran’s official stance, said Iran’s defensive missile program was non-negotiable.