Iranian officials reacted skeptically on Tuesday to US President Donald Trump’s comments that he’s willing to negotiate with Tehran, with the country’s president saying it was up to Europe to save the nuclear deal after Washington’s “illegal” withdrawal.
Officials said if Trump wants talks, he needs to rejoin the international nuclear deal he unilaterally pulled out of earlier this year.
Trump on Monday said he’d meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “anytime” if the Iranian leader were willing.
In his first public remarks after the comment, Rouhani did not mention Trump at all but instead stressed the need for the other nations involved in the nuclear deal to forge ahead with their pledges of trying to salvage it.
“Now, after the US illegal withdrawal from the nuclear deal, the ball is in Europe’s court in the limited time that has been left,” he said, according to Iranian state-run media.
“Today we are at a very critical point in history regarding the nuclear deal, and Europe’s transparent measures to compensate for the United States’ unlawful withdrawal from it are very important for the Iranian nation,” he said after talks with new British Ambassador Rob Macaire.
In addition to Britain, China, Germany, France, Russia and the European Union are negotiating with Iran on preserving the deal.
Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency quoted political adviser Hamid Aboutalebi as saying that for talks to happen, the US needs to rejoin the deal.
“Those who believe in dialogue as a method of resolving disputes in civilized societies should be committed to the means,” he said.
Meanwhile, a senior Iranian lawmaker said Tuesday that talks with the US at this time would amount to a “humiliation.”
“If Trump had not withdrawn from [the] nuclear deal and had not imposed sanctions on Iran, there would be no problem with negotiations with America,” Ali Motahari, the deputy speaker of parliament, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
“But negotiating with the Americans would be a humiliation now,” he said.