Iran says it's ready for talks if US apologises over nuclear pact

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani cautioned that US calls for discussions were insincere. PHOTO: AFP

DUBAI (REUTERS) - Iran would be open to talks with the United States if Washington apologises for exiting a 2015 nuclear deal and compensates Teheran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday (June 24), cautioning that US calls for discussions were insincere.

The confrontation between arch foes Teheran and Washington has worsened since 2018, when US President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with major powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy.

Iran has refused to hold any talks with the US, which is trying to force Teheran to negotiate a new deal, unless Washington lifts sanctions on Teheran and returns to the original agreement.

In a tweet in early June, Mr Trump repeated Washington's call for a new deal with Teheran aimed at putting stricter limits on Teheran's nuclear work, curbs its ballistic missile program and ends its decades of regional proxy wars.

"We have no problem with talks with the US, but only if Washington fulfils its obligations under the nuclear deal, apologies and compensates Teheran for its withdrawal from the 2015 deal," Mr Rouhani said in a televised speech.

"But we know these calls for talks with Teheran are just words and lies," he added.

In retaliation for Washington's "maximum pressure" policy, Iran has gradually scaled back its nuclear commitments, a process Teheran says is reversible if the European parties to the pact carry out their promises to shield Iran's economy from US penalties.

"The Europeans have failed to fulfil their promises. They should carry out their obligations," Mr Rouhani said.

Mr Rouhani also blasted a resolution by the UN nuclear watchdog passed on Friday that called on Iran to stop denying the agency access to two suspected former sites and to cooperate fully with it.

"Iran is ready to cooperate with the (International Atomic Energy Agency) IAEA under law," he said.

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