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Iran's Rouhani Repeats Demand For US To Apologize Before Any Talks

Iranian President Hassan Rohani chairs a cabinet session in the capital Tehran, June 24, 2020

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has repeated a previous demand that the United States should apologize, return to the 2015 nuclear agreement and compensate Iran for economic losses, before Tehran negotiates over outstanding issues.

Rouhani and other Iranian officials have voiced these demands in the past, but the country’s ruler Ali Khamenei has forbidden any negotiations with Washington.

Tension between Iran and the U.S. worsened after President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA) in May 2018 and unleashed a series of tough sanctions on Tehran.

Rouhani who was speaking at his cabinet meeting on Wednesday June 24, dismissed Trump’s repeated offers of unconditional talks as ingenuine, saying “we know these calls for talks with Tehran are just words and lies."

"We have no problem with talks with the U.S., but only if Washington fulfills its obligations under the nuclear deal, apologies and compensates Tehran for its withdrawal from the 2015 deal," Rouhani said.

It is highly unlikely that the Trump administration would even consider Rouhani’s tough demands, amounting to no breakthrough. U.S. sanctions have put a lot of pressure on the Islamic Republic, cutting 90 percent of its oil exports and leaving the government with little cash to operate.

During the past one week, Iran’s currency rial has nosedived to historical lows against the U.S. dollar and other major currencies.

In retaliation for Washington's “maximum pressure” policy, Iran has scaled back its nuclear commitments, a process it says is reversible if the European parties to the pact carry out their promises to shield Iran's economy from U.S. penalties.

"The Europeans have failed to fulfil their promises. They should carry out their obligations," Rouhani said.

Based on reports by media in Iran and Reuters