GENEVA – A plan for talks presented to the United States and Iran by French President Emmanuel Macron is broadly acceptable to the Islamic Republic, President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday during a cabinet meeting that was broadcast live.
He said some wording needed to be changed in the plan, which outlines that Iran will not pursue nuclear weapons and will help the security of the region and its waterways, while Washington will remove all sanctions. It would also allow Iran to immediately resume oil sales.
But Rouhani also told the cabinet meeting, broadcast on state TV, that mixed messages about sanctions received from the United States while he was there last week had undermined the possibility of talks. Rouhani attended the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
He added that it was not acceptable for U.S. President Donald Trump to say in public that he would intensify sanctions while European powers were telling the Islamic Republic in private that he was willing to negotiate.
“The American president on two occasions, once in his speech at the United Nations and another time, said explicitly that we want to intensify sanctions. I told these European friends, so which part should we accept? Should we accept your word that you say America is ready?” Rouhani said.
“Or the words of the president of America who in 24 hours said explicitly twice … that I want to intensify sanctions? [The Europeans] didn’t have a clear answer.”
European powers were continuing efforts to arrange talks, Rouhani said. Germany, Britain and France were among signatories to Iran’s 2015 nuclear pact with world powers, which Trump pulled the United States out of last year.
Separately, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Iran will continue reducing its commitments under a landmark 2015 nuclear deal until it reaches a “desired result”, according to his official website.
“We will continue the reduction of commitments and must continue with complete seriousness,” Khamenei said in a meeting with commanders of the elite Revolutionary Guards.
“The responsibility is with the Atomic Energy Organization and they must carry out the reduction of commitments that the Islamic Republic has announced in a precise, complete and comprehensive way and continue until the time we reach a desired result.”