Lift sanctions before negotiations, Iran tells US

TEHRAN (Agencies): Iran would enter negotiations with the U.S. if the latter first lifted economic sanctions on Tehran, Iranian state media quoted President Hassan Rouhani as saying Tuesday.

“Sanctions cannot be used as a tool for forcing Iran to the negotiating table,” he said, adding that Washington should “respect the Iranian people and lift sanctions before holding talks”.

According to Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency, Rouhani made the remarks while addressing Shia and Sunni Muslim scholars in Iran’s Golestan Province.

“The country is certainly facing unusual circumstances, but we don’t fear sanctions,” he was quoted as saying.  “Nor will we retreat from our objectives.”

Rouhani also accused the U.S., Israel and certain Arab Gulf States of waging an “economic war” on Iran.

“Iran will never be isolated,” he went on to assert. “Now, globally, only a few countries support [Washington’s] policies regarding the [2015] nuclear deal and the sanctions.”

Noting that today, Muslims around the world are under pressure, he said that in order to defeat the enemy, there was no option but to return to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) lifestyle.

Comparing today’s facilities with those before the victory of the Islamic Revolution, he said that Iran’s electricity capacity stood at 7,000 megawatts on the first day of the Islamic Revolution, while the figure had now reached 80,000 megawatts.

Accompanied by a number of his cabinet members, President Rouhani, arrived in Golestan Province on Monday. During his two-day stay in the province, he reviewed the process of development in the province and got familiar with problems provincial people are facing. Apart from the meetings with the Sunni Ulema and provincial clerics, the president inaugurated a number of development projects.

Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew his country from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany).