Rouhani says talks with US possible any moment after ‘apology’

Al-Monitor – While Iran’s hard-liners have persistently warned against any compromise with the Donald Trump administration, President Hassan Rouhani said he is ready for talks even before the upcoming US presidential elections.

At a Cabinet meeting in Tehran June 24, President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran is open to negotiations “as soon as the White House and Congress return from the wrong path … offer an apology and compensate [for] the loss they inflicted upon Iran.” Rouhani was referring to the US withdrawal from the multilateral 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), from which US President Donald Trump walked away in May 2018.

“We have no problem [with negotiations]. [The Americans] are the ones who broke the table,” Rouhani added, expressing readiness for talks even before the November US presidential elections if the Trump administration rejoins the JCPOA. The Iranian president appeared to be responding to the latest overture from his American counterpart, as he advised Iranians to sit down with him for a deal without pinning hopes on his possible defeat in the vote.

As opposed to Rouhani’s stance, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who maintains the ultimate authority over sensitive foreign policy decisions, has publicly dismissed talks with the Trump administration as “poison.” And last week, the newly inaugurated Iranian parliament dominated by Rouhani rivals made it clear that a compromise with the United States is “absolutely forbidden.”

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