Date of publication: 9 September, 2018
The US is reaching out to Iran “every day” to begin negotiations, Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday during a televised speech.
“From one side they try to pressure the people of Iran, on another side they send us messages every day through various methods that we should come and negotiate together,” Rouhani said.
“[They say] we should negotiate here, we should negotiate there. We want to resolve the issues… should we see your message?.. or should we see your brutish actions?” he added.
Tehran’s relationship with Washington took a downward spiral after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimposed the first of two sets of sanctions last month.
Trump has previously met with adversaries, including North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, and said he would meet with Iran’s leaders.
Rouhani also evoked memories of the devastating 1980–88 Iran-Iraq war and called for unity amid economic hardships fuelled in part by US pressure.
“Today, the government is on the frontlines. This is an economic, psychological and propoganda war,” Rouhani said.
“But our nation never backed down. Now, too, our nation will not bow before the pressure of a new group in the White House.”
Iran’s economy has been battered in recent months. Prices are rising and shortages are widespread, while Iran’s currency has lost around 70 percent of its value against the dollar compared to a year ago.
Rouhani called for unity after weeks of pressure from both reformist and hardline factions over his handling of the economic crisis.
“We cannot fight America, the left and the right at the same time. We cannot fight on three fronts,” he said.
In late July, Iran filed a suit at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague over Trump’s decision to re-impose sanctions after they were lifted following the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran says Trump’s move breaches a 1955 treaty. It told the court the measures were already devastating its economy and threatening the welfare of its citizens.
Trump has said the sanctions would turn up the financial pressure on Tehran to come to a “comprehensive and lasting solution” regarding its activities such as its “ballistic missile programme and its support . ( The New Arab )