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Iran's Rouhani Says Whoever Wants A Photo Op Must First Give Up Sanctions

Iran--In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a conference in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019.

Iran’s president in an obvious reference to his American counterpart said Tuesday, “whoever wants to take a picture with him” must first “give up all the brutal sanctions”.

Hassan Rouhani’s remarks come a day after the French President Emmanuel Macron said at the G7 summit conditions are favorable for talks between Donald Trump and Rouhani. He also insisted that Iran should never obtain nuclear weapons.

Donald Trump, who has repeatedly said he is ready for negotiations with Iran without preconditions, sounded also optimistic and ready to meet Rouhani in the near future.

Trump said he would meet Iran's president under the right circumstances to end a confrontation over Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal and that talks were underway to see how countries could open credit lines to keep Iran's economy afloat.

U.S. sanctions have pushed Iran’s already weak economy onto deep crisis, with around six percent negative growth estimated for 2019 by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

But Rouhani sounded ready to fight for a hard bargain in his speech, saying, "We will continue to scale back our commitments under the 2015 deal if our interests are not guaranteed," said Rouhani in a speech broadcast live. "Tehran has never wanted nuclear weapons."

The next possible opportunity for a Trump-Rouhani meeting will be the United Nations General Assembly in September.