Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (Presidency of Iran - handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Rouhani Tells Trump: Remove Sanctions, Then We Can Talk

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani weighed in Tuesday on word of efforts toward a summit meeting with US President Donald Trump by saying there can be no talks until economic and other sanctions against Iran have been removed. The idea of a summit between the two was floated toward the end of the G7 meeting in Biarritz, France, this weekend when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a surprise appearance, apparently at the behest of French President Emmanuel Macron, and Trump was quoted as saying he’d be open to talks. Speaking in a live broadcast on state-run television and seeming to aim his comments directly at the US president, Rouhani said that “first, the US should act by lifting all illegal, unjust and unfair sanctions imposed on Iran…. Washington has the key for positive change…. So take the first step…. Without this step, this lock will not be unlocked.” President Trump is a hardliner on sanctions, reinstating them after he withdrew the US from a 2015 multilateral accord aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear drive, insisting that the Iranians were not upholding their end of the bargain. Macron and other European leaders have been seeking ways to circumvent the sanctions, citing troubled economies and numerous trade relationships with the Islamic Republic that have been harmed.

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