US Return to Nuclear Deal Can Pave the Way for Dialogue

US Return to Nuclear Deal Can Pave the Way for Dialogue  US Return to Nuclear Deal Can Pave the Way for Dialogue

President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that the United States' return to the Iran nuclear deal and an end to threats can ease the way for dialogue, while slamming US sanctions.    

"No state and nation can be brought to the negotiating table by force," the president told world leaders in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, according to a text of his speech published by the presidential website. 

In a rebuke to US President Donald Trump, who spoke just hours before him and urged all nations to "isolate" Iran, Rouhani said dialogue starts with ending threats and unjust sanctions that negate the principles of ethics and international law.    

"For dialogue to take place, there is no need for a photo opportunity. The two sides can listen to each other right here in this assembly. I am starting the dialogue right here," he said, adding that talks can resume from the same point and by the same person who left the negotiation table and walked away from the nuclear agreement. 

Trump pulled his country out of the 2015 pact—officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—in May, and his administration reimposed sanctions on Tehran in August. Tougher sanctions on the oil sector are expected in November. 

Reciprocal Measures 

"Our proposal is clear: commitment for commitment, violation for violation, threat for threat and step for step," Rouhani said. 

"If you dislike JCPOA because it is the legacy of your domestic political rivals, then we invite you to come back to the Security Council resolution," he said, referring to Resolution 2231 that underpins the agreement. 

He added that the UN should not allow its decisions to fall victim to domestic elections and propaganda games of some of its members and should not allow any member state to dodge the execution of its international commitments.   

The president said Iran is pleased that other signatories did not "acquiesce" to US demands to break the deal, which was hammered out after years of diplomacy to resolve what he called an "artificial crisis". 

Unlawful Sanctions 

Rouhani criticized "unlawful unilateral sanctions" imposed by Washington on Iran, noting that they constitute a "form of economic terrorism".

"The economic war that the US has initiated under the rubric of new sanctions not only targets the Iranian people but also entails harmful repercussions for the people of other countries and has caused a disruption in global trade," he said. 

In addition, he stated that the security of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz has always been important for Iran.

"Just as we defended this security during the war imposed on us by Iraq [in 1980s], we will confront any and all disruptive efforts in this critical waterway in the future," he said. 

Iranian officials have in the past threatened to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which a third of the world's seaborne crude oil supplies pass, in retaliation for any hostile US action. 

Regime Change 

The president also referred to the fact that a number of US officials have supported efforts to overthrow Iran's government.

"It is ironic that the US government does not even conceal its plan for overthrowing the same government it invites to talks," he said. 

Rouhani stated that Washington's approach toward the Islamic Republic has been wrong from the start and is doomed, vowing that the Iranian nation will demonstrate "unwavering resilience" in the face of hostile powers. 

"The policy of engagement and cooperation with Iran has produced positive outcomes for other nations … The world will not have a better friend than Iran, if peace is what you seek."

Weakness of Intellect

Taking a direct hit at Trump's rejection of globalism, Rouhani said confronting multilateralism is a "symptom of the weakness of intellect".

In language popular with his political base, the US president told global leaders, "America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism."  

In response, Rouhani criticized leaders who "ride public sentiments and gain popular support by fomenting extremist nationalism and racism" and through what he called "xenophobic tendencies resembling a Nazi disposition". 

The president defended Iran's advisory presence in war-torn Syria, which he said is at the request of the Damascus government, and called for the resolution of the conflict in Yemen through national dialogue and an end to Israel's occupation of Palestine. 

He also said the expansion of relations with neighbors and the creation of a more secure and developed region are among the main priorities of Iran's foreign policy.  

Not Appropriate   

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Rouhani reiterated the Iranian government's stance that talks with the US are neither "beneficial" nor "appropriate" under the current circumstances. 

Asked about Washington's demand for a change in Iran's domestic and regional policies before any negotiations can begin and Tehran's preconditions for talks, he said the US must change its wrong approach on the nuclear deal. 

Rouhani ruled out talks about other topics prior to the proper and precise implementation of the previous agreement. 

He flatly denied that he has asked for a meeting with Trump, saying, "We have never made such a request." 

In a tweet earlier on Tuesday, Trump said, "Despite requests, I have no plans to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Maybe someday in the future." 

He also called Rouhani "an absolutely lovely man", which the Iranian president described as "playing with words" that will not "get us to any solutions" in his interview with CNN. 

People's Vote   

Rouhani also downplayed recent anti-government protests in Iran and dismissed the possibility of regime change in the country, saying, "Such an objective will never be achieved." 

"Representatives of the Iranian people are elected through the ballot box," he said, adding that no power can resist the will of the nation.  

"The Iranian government is not separate from the people. So overthrowing that government means overthrowing the will of the people of Iran."

He added that US sanctions have targeted the Iranian people, not the government, because ordinary people suffer from unfavorable economic conditions.

People take the brunt of the sanctions and Washington's policy shows its "animosity" toward Iranians, he said, stressing that this is while American officials claim to support the Iranian nation. 

They are against public welfare because they are obstructing the implementation of infrastructure development projects, he said, calling it a "bad mistake". 

Rouhani noted that the US will not be able to continue these pressures in the long run, as such a policy will not bring America closer to its objectives. 

On efforts by the remaining signatories to the nuclear deal to keep it alive, he noted that they have expressed strong political will but have not met Iran's expectations "in a tangible fashion" so far. 

Rouhani said Iran will remain in the agreement as long as its interests are served. 

"If we see that the five remaining countries in the agreement are not living up to their commitments, then we will have new conditions," he declared/  

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