Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has blamed the US for torpedoing Tehran-Washington talks, vowing that the Islamic Republic will never yield to the White House’s sanction pressure.
“They say ‘we are ready to negotiate.’ They are saying something strange. What does ‘we’re ready to negotiate’ mean? Who left the negotiating table? Who broke the negotiating table? Who set fire to the negotiating room? It was them (the Americans)”, Rouhani said during a meeting with Iranian governors in Tehran on Tuesday.
He accused the US of “telling lies every day”, praising Iran’s efforts to do a “great job” and put up “resistance against a superpower that is acting in a brutal way”.
“It is clear to the entire world today that we will never surrender under sanctions and pressure", the Iranian president underlined.
Rouhani added that US President Donald Trump “later realised that he had been mistaken and had made a miscalculation” following attempts to put pressure on Iran in order to bring it to the negotiating table within three months.
The statement comes after POTUS reiterated Washington's readiness for a new deal with Iran last week, also insisting that Tehran was allegedly waiting to see him lose the 2020 presidential election.
'Iran Will Never Negotiate Under Pressure'
The remarks were preceded by Rouhani telling journalists in February that the Islamic Republic would “never negotiate under pressure" and that “America's 'maximum pressure' [policy] towards Iran is doomed to failure”.
This followed Rouhani’s statement that Tehran would never look to obtain an atomic weapon, with or without the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
On 5 January, Tehran announced that it would no longer comply with the limits of the JCPOA, which was set to considerably reduce Iran's nuclear programme and its stockpile of medium- and low-enriched uranium in exchange for the removal of international sanctions. The country announced that it would now start enriching uranium based on its technical needs and in a "peaceful" manner.
The announcement came amid an escalation in Washington-Tehran tensions after top Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike on 3 January authorised by President Trump.
POTUS signalled Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA on 8 May 2018, reimposing tough sanctions against Iran’s banking and energy sectors. Exactly a year later, Tehran announced that it had suspended some of its obligations under the JCPOA, while adding that it doesn’t want to leave the deal.