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Rouhani warns US on sanctions, does not rule out talks

Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday warned the United States against pursuing hostile policies toward Tehran, saying preventing Iran from exporting oil would be “very dangerous”, though he did not rule out talks between the two countries, Reuters reported.

In May, US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran and announced sanctions against the OPEC member. Washington is pushing allies to cut imports of Iranian oil to zero and will restore sanctions on Iran’s oil sales in November.

Under the accord, most international sanctions against Tehran were lifted in 2016 in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program.


“Imposing sanctions on Iran to prevent us from selling our oil will be very dangerous ... and it cannot succeed,” Iran’s students News Agency ISNA quoted Rouhani as saying in a meeting with senior editors of foreign media in New York.


Rouhani, who is in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly gathering of world leaders, said Iran would only talk to Trump if his administration proved its trustworthiness. Economic pressure would not force Tehran to the negotiating table, Rouhani said.


“If Trump wants to talk to Iran, then he first should return to the nuclear deal,” Rouhani said.


Iran’s rial currency has lost half its value in the past few months and fear of economic hardship has led to sporadic protests in several cities, with ordinary Iranians chanting slogans against Iranian leaders.


Rouhani has sought to reassure Iranians, many deeply frustrated by high unemployment and low living standards, that Iran’s oil-reliant economy could withstand the US pressure.