Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani told parliament on Tuesday, September 3 “We have never had any decision at any point to hold bilateral negotiations with the United States.”
On August 26 Rouhani had indicated he is open to negotiation with any party if it could lead to Iran's economic development. "Every means must be used in order to protect the country's national interests”, Rouhani had said one day after foreign minister Javad Zarif visited the G7 meeting in France and met President Emmanuel Macron.
However, the following day Rouhani began to walk back his statement, insisting that the United States should first accept Iran’s conditions before getting a chance “for a photo op”.
Speaking at Tuesday’s open parliamentary session, Rouhani also said, “We have had proposals coming from different parties, but our answer has always been negative”. He added that if the U.S. scraps its sanctions against Iran it can attend the meetings of the signatories of the 2015 nuclear agreement.
The Iranian president also tried to clarify his previous conciliatory remarks, saying that his statement about his willingness to talk did not mean bilateral negotiations. “Foreigners usually have their own take but our policy guidelines are set by the Supreme Leader. We all follow a single path and have no differences on national issues”.
Rouhani has been under pressure by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s allies in recent months, who constantly attack his administration both on foreign policy and domestic issues.