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Iran President Hassan Rouhani says no talks with US unless sanctions lifted

File photo of Hassan Rouhani. Photograph:( Reuters )

Agencies Tehran, Iran Aug 27, 2019, 11.27 AM (IST)

Iran President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday said that the United States should take the ''first step'' by lifting all sanctions, news agency AFP reported.

"Tehran has never wanted nuclear weapons," Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state television, adding that the country was always ready to hold talks.

"But first the US should act by lifting all illegal, unjust and unfair sanctions imposed on Iran," he added.

"We will continue to scale back our commitments under the 2015 deal if our interests are not guaranteed," news agency Reuters reported.

US President Donald Trump said earlier that he was prepared to meet his Iranian counterpart within weeks, after talks about Tehran's nuclear programme at the G7 summit in France.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had made a surprise appearance on the sidelines of the summit in Biarritz on Sunday at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron said the "conditions for a meeting" between Trump and Rouhani "in the next few weeks" had been created through intensive diplomacy and consultations.

"If the circumstances were correct, I would certainly agree to that," Trump said at a press conference with Macron at the end of three days of talks.

Asked if he thought the timeline proposed by his French counterpart was realistic, Trump replied, "It does", adding he thought Rouhani would also be in favour. 

"I think he's going to want to meet. I think Iran wants to get this situation straightened out," he added.

Trump has put in place a policy of "maximum pressure" on Tehran over its disputed nuclear programme via crippling sanctions that are seen as raising the risk of conflict in the Middle East.

The US president last year unilaterally pulled out of a landmark 2015 international deal that placed limits on Tehran's nuclear activities in exchange for trade, investment and sanctions relief.

(With inputs from Reuters/AFP)

Story highlights

US President Donald Trump said earlier that he was prepared to meet his Iranian counterpart within weeks, after talks about Tehran's nuclear programme at the G7 summit in France.