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Iran's Rouhani tells US to drop sanctions for talks

Zarif made a surprise visit to the G7 on Monday [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 August, 2019

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Iran is ready for talks, if the US drops sanctions, President Rouhani said.
Iran President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that the US should lift all sanctions in return for talks on the country's nuclear deal.

Rouhani said Washington should "take the first step" to unconditionally end its punishing economic embargo on Iran, a day after US President Donald Trump said he was open to meeting with the Iran president.

"The step is to retreat from sanctions. You must retreat from all illegal, unjust and wrong sanctions against the nation of Iran," Rouhani said in a speech aired live on state television.

He said "the key for positive change is in the hands of Washington", because Iran had no intention of building a nuclear bomb.

"If honestly this is your only concern, this concern has already been removed" through a fatwa issued by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, he said.

Khamenei is said to have issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons in 2003 and has reiterated it several times since.

"So take the first step. Without this step, this lock will not be unlocked," Rouhani said.

It comes after Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif made a suprise visit to the G7 meeting in France.

Trump unilaterally pulled out of a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal in May last year and ordered punishing sanctions on Tehran.  

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