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Rouhani Again Rejects Talks with U.S., but Intense Diplomacy Continues with France, Russia

Sept. 3, 2019 (EIRNS)—Iranian President Hassan Rouhani explicitly rejected negotiations with the U.S. under present conditions, while at the same time Iranian negotiators in Paris are intensely working out the details of an arrangement which is intended to allow Iran to sell oil. In an address to the Iranian parliament, this morning, Rouhani said that Iran has opted for national resistance to the U.S. “maximum pressure” policy and active diplomacy and has not decided to negotiate with the U.S. despite some suggestions from many states, reported IRNA.

Rouhani said any dialogue with the U.S. would have to fall within the framework of the group of major powers that agreed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 nuclear deal by which Iran accepted restrictions on its nuclear program in return for economic relief from UN-mandated sanctions. Rouhani also said Iran was ready to further reduce its commitments to the accord “in the coming days” if current negotiations with European nations yield no results by Sept. 5.

Rouhani also voiced regret over the failure of European nations to fulfill pledges they made during negotiations. “Unfortunately after the U.S. betrayal ... the Europeans haven’t acted on their commitments or couldn’t ... in some cases they could have acted but did not,” he said. “What we are asking of the other countries is that they continue to buy our oil. We can continue negotiations even after the third step.”

Nonetheless, discussions on facilitating Iranian oil sales appear to have generated some optimism that Europe and Iran can reach an agreement which would keep Iran in the JCPOA. A delegation led by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, and including the governor of the Central Bank of Iran and Iran’s Oil Minister, met with their French counterparts for ten hours on Sept. 2. They were focused on possible scenarios for furthering the initiative put forward by the French President on the nuclear deal, reported Tasnim. “Fortunately, the views have become closer together on many issues,” Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei told reporters in Tehran yesterday, adding, “Technical discussions on European commitments are now underway.”

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