Iran’s president: No talks with US until sanctions scrapped

Renewed hopes for talks between US President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani were dealt a blow on Tuesday when Rouhani said there would be no meeting until economic sanctions imposed on Tehran are removed.

“No positive development will happen in Iran-US ties without them lifting sanctions and abandoning their hostile actions,” Rouhani said in a televised speech — a day after Trump said there was a “really good chance” the men could meet in the coming weeks.

“We will change our behavior towards those who imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran and committed economic terrorism, if they show remorse,” Rouhani added.

The Iranian leader’s remarks came in the wake of discussions at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France about potential Rouhani-Trump talks.

French President Emmanuel Macron has pushed for a meeting between the two men, and extended a surprise G7 invitation to Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif over the weekend, though Trump did not meet with the envoy while he was in Biarritz.

“At one moment or another there must be a meeting between the President of Iran and the President of the United States,” Macron said during a joint news conference with Trump at the end of the summit on Monday, adding that Rouhani had told him he was open to the idea.

Standing next to Macron, Trump said: “If the circumstances were correct or right I would certainly agree to that. In the meantime they have to be good players.”

Rouhani said Tuesday that Iran would continue to scale back its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal if sanctions were not lifted.

The United States reimposed sanctions on Iran after pulling out from the deal in 2018. In turn, Iran has increased enrichment of uranium and its stockpiles beyond the levels stipulated by the 2015 agreement.

“Our path is clear: if they return to their commitments, we will do the same, and we are looking after settling issues through the logical way,” Rouhani said.