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[Published: Wednesday August 08 2018]

 No talks with US while under sanctions, Iran

TEHRAN 8 Aug (ANA) - President Hassan Rouhani has declared that Iran cannot enter talks with the "untrustworthy" administration of US President Donald Trump as long as Tehran is under the shadow of economic sanctions.  

Rouhani made the comments in a televised interview on Monday evening, just hours before the first round of unilateral "snap back" US sanctions take effect on Tuesday.

"You cannot expect to talk to a person after you stab him and leave the knife in his body," Rouhani, speaking in Persian, told IRIB state television.

He said the United States proved to be an unreliable negotiating partner when it decided to withdraw from a multinational nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions against it.

"If there is trust, Iran always welcomes negotiations," he said. "But negotiations don't make sense while we are under sanctions."

In late July, Trump, who has repeatedly criticised Iran's leaders, said he is willing to meet with them with no preconditions - even though US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later walked back some of the president's comments.

Speaking to IRIB, Rouhani said Trump's offer to negotiate is aimed at "creating divisions" in Iran, accusing him of trying to launch "psychological warfare" against the Iranian people.  

Earlier on Monday, Trump signed an executive order paving the way for the return of biting sanctions against Tehran on Tuesday.

The reimposed sanctions will target a range of sectors, blocking Iran from purchasing US banknotes and trading in gold and metals. They will also limit Iran's access to the software and automotive sectors while blocking its ability to buy commercial aircraft or trade in food and other goods as well.

The US said the sanctions are aimed at exerting "maximum economic pressure" against Iran.

In a statement, the White House said the first round of sanctions will be reimposed on August 7. A second round of even more punishing sanctions targeting Iran's massive oil industry will take effect on November 5.

"President Trump will continue to stand up to the Iranian regime's aggression, and the United States will fully enforce the reimposed sanctions," the White House statement said, maintaining that the 2015 deal was "defective at its core".

Ahmad Majidyar, director of IranObserved Project at the Middle East Institute, said even before the sanctions took effect, Iran's vulnerable economy had already been undermined by the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

"Over the recent months, the Iranian currency has been in freefall; inflation has been soaring; unemployment has been increasing; and, most importantly, people have lost hope," he told Al Jazeera.

"In anticipation of the sanctions, a lot of Iranian business people have transferred their assets and capital abroad, so that's why the economic situation has already been deteriorating." (ANA)
FA/ANA/8 August 2018--------

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