No Room for Dialogue with US

No Room for Dialogue Unless US Ends ‘Economic Terrorism’No Room for Dialogue Unless US Ends ‘Economic Terrorism’

There are no prospects for dialogue with the United States as long as the American policy of "economic terrorism" against Iran persists, a senior official said on Tuesday.
"Our stance is very clear and the Americans are well aware that we reject the policy of 'maximum pressure' and insist that the unjust sanctions against the Iranian people must be lifted," Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi also told IRNA. 
His comments came after US President Donald Trump fired national security adviser John Bolton, a hawk who has long advocated military action against Iran. 
Asked about Bolton's departure from the White House and whether it removes an obstacle to the possibility of US-Iran talks, Takht-Ravanchi said it is a domestic issue and "we do not take stands on other countries' internal affairs". 



Sanctions a Barrier to Talks 

As reiterated by the Iranian president, there is no room for dialogue as long as these unjust sanctions and the US government's economic terrorism against the Iranian people remain in place, he said. 
He added that any meeting must be held in the framework of G5+1, the group of major powers that negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal, namely France, Britain, the US, China and Russia, plus Germany.
According to AFP, two of Trump's top lieutenants on Tuesday indicated he was ready to meet Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani without preconditions. 
But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stressed Washington would maintain its campaign of "maximum pressure" against the Islamic Republic. 
The idea of a Trump-Rouhani meeting was floated last month by French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been spearheading European efforts to de-escalate tensions between Iran and the US.
The arch-foes have been at loggerheads since May last year when Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal and began reimposing sanctions on Iran.
Trump's third national security adviser, Bolton had argued for driving Iranian oil exports to zero and against Trump's desire to meet the Iranian president. 
Asked if Bolton's removal could soften the Trump administration's hardline approach toward Iran, Takht-Ravanchi said it is "too soon" to make any judgments.
"Any change in the extremist policy of the United States depends on various factors in US foreign policy," he said.



Need for Policy Change  

In addition, Rouhani, who won two landslide elections on promises to open the country up to the world, repeated previous Iranian demands that Washington alter its policies. 
"The United States should understand that militancy does not serve its interests. It should put warmongers aside and abandon its policy of maximum pressure on Iran," Rouhani told a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, in an apparent reference to Bolton's firing, his website reported. 
He added that Iran will continue to withstand the US pressure and will cut its commitments to the nuclear deal further, if deemed necessary.  
"Iran's commitment to the agreement is proportional to other parties' fulfillment of their obligations, and we will take more steps if necessary," the president said.
In response to renewed and toughened US sanctions and Europe's failure to uphold its side of the deal, Iran has in recent months surpassed the limits the nuclear deal imposed on uranium enrichment and its uranium stockpile. 
Tehran announced recently it would use advanced centrifuges as part of the next step toward reducing its compliance.


'Thirst for War'

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday criticized the US for ordering new sanctions on Iran despite the departure of Bolton, whom he called the "warmonger-in-chief".
"As the world—minus 3 or 2 panicked cohorts—was breathing a sigh of relief over ouster of #B_Team's henchman in the White House, Pompeo & Mnuchin declared further escalation of #EconomicTerrorism against Iran," he tweeted. "Thirst for war—maximum pressure—should go with the warmonger-in-chief."
Zarif has in the past said that the "B-team", including Bolton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, could goad Trump into a conflict with Tehran. 
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of Wednesday's Cabinet meeting, Mahmoud Vaezi, the presidential chief of staff, said Bolton's dismissal shows that even the US government has come to the conclusion that the age of "warmongering and intimidation is over".

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