Iran is ready to hold talks with the United States if Washington lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal it quit last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Sunday. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has said it is open to negotiations with Iran on a more far-reaching agreement on nuclear and security issues. But Iran has made any talks conditional on first being able to export as much oil as it did before the United States withdrew from the nuclear pact with world powers in May 2018. “We have always believed in talks … if they lift sanctions, end the imposed economic pressure and return to the deal, we are ready to hold talks with America today, right now and anywhere,” Rouhani said in his Sunday speech. In an interview with the Washington Post newspaper, Pompeo dismissed Rouhani’s idea as “the same offer that he offered to John F. Kerry and Barack Obama,” referring to the former U.S. secretary of state and president. “President Trump will obviously make the final decision. But this is a path that the previous administration had gone down and it led to the (Iran nuclear deal) which this administration, President Trump and I both believe was a disaster,” Pompeo said. Confrontations between Washington and Tehran have escalated, culminating in an aborted plan for U.S. air strikes on Iran last month after Tehran downed a U.S. drone. Trump called off the retaliatory U.S. air strike at the last minute.
Hours before Iranian President Hassan Rouhani takes the same rostrum, US President Donald Trump denounced the clerical regime as sowing “chaos, death and destruction” and doubled down on the US withdrawal of an international agreement on curbing Tehran’s nuclear program. “We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons. We cannot allow a regime that chants ‘Death to America’ and that threatens Israel with annihilation, to possess the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to any city on Earth. We ask all nations to isolate Iran’s regime as long as its aggression continues.”