February 17, 2020
Iran will never hold talks with the United States under pressure, President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday, as he ruled out resigning.
“We will never yield to America’s pressure and we will not negotiate from a position of weakness,” Rouhani said in a televised news conference.
Relations between Tehran and Washington reached crisis point in 2018 after US President Donald Trump abandoned a 2015 pact between Iran and world powers under which Tehran accepted curbs to its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions.
Tensions spiked further following the killing of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3 by US drone attacks at Baghdad airport. In retaliation, Iran attacked US targets in Iraq in January.
Trump has adopted a policy of “maximum pressure” to force Tehran to negotiate a broader deal that further curbs Iran’s nuclear work, ends its missile program and its involvement in regional proxy wars.
Although the reimposed US sanctions have crippled Iran’s economy, slashing its oil exports, Tehran has repeatedly dismissed talks over any new deal, saying they are possible only if the United States returns to the pact and lifts trade curbs.
“America’s ‘maximum pressure’ towards Iran is doomed to failure … our enemy (the United States) is very well aware that their pressure is inefficient,” Rouhani said.
Speaking ahead of a general election next Friday, Rouhani also appealed to voters to turn out despite the fact that many moderate and reformist candidates were disqualified from the race.
Rumors have swirled in Iran recently that the 71-year-old, whose second and last term ends next year, had been planning to quit, but his office denied the reports.
“My resignation does not make much sense… we have made promises to the people and we will continue to fulfill those promises” despite the economic situation and pressure from “the enemy”, Rouhani said, referring to the US.
“The idea of resigning (because of these recent problems) never occurred to me.”
But Rouhani admitted he had offered to resign twice in the past, and that they were rejected by supreme leader Ali Khamenei.