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Friday , November 22 2019

Iran open to small deal changes – EU powers back US

NEW YORK, Sept 24, (RTRS): Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday he was open to discuss small changes, additions or amendments to a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers if the United States lifted sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic.

The pragmatic president told media in New York that he will be open to discuss with major powers “small changes, additions or amendments” to nuclear deal if sanctions were taken away. US President Donald Trump, who has adopted an “economic pressure” policy towards Iran to force its leadership to renegotiate the accord, said on Tuesday that he had no intention of lifting sanctions on Iran.

Tensions have spiked between longtime foes, Tehran and Washington, since last year when Trump exited the nuclear pact and imposed sanctions on the Islamic republic that were lifted under the agreement. In retaliation for the US “maximum pressure” policy, Iran has gradually reduced its commitments to the pact and plans to further breach it if the European parties fail to keep their promises to shield Iran’s economy from US penalties. Iran’s top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said last week that Iran could engage in multilateral discussions if the United States returned to the deal and lifted sanctions.

The confrontation has intensified between Tehran and Washington following an attack on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia on Sept 14 that sent oil prices soaring and raised fears of a new Middle East conflict. Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Tuesday that US sanctions were preventing Tehran’s access to equipment it had bought to stop flaring natural gas and fight dangerous pollution at energy plants. “We have bought equipment to stop flaring gas but we cannot receive it because of sanctions. I think this is a crime against humanity by Trump as we are prevented from using equipment against environmental pollution. It is his guilt and responsibility,” Zanganeh told state television.

Enemies who try to attack Iran will face captivity and defeat, a senior Iranian military official said on Tuesday, a day after Rouhani said Iran’s message to the world was “peace and stability”. “We have repeatedly told the enemy that if there is any violation toward this country, they will face the same action that took place with the American drone and the English tanker,” Iran’s armed forces chief of staff, Major General Mohammad Baqeri was cited as saying by the Tasnim news agency. “The result of a violation toward this country will be captivity and defeat.” Iran does not have any enmity toward Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates and both countries should stand by the Islamic Republic to secure the region, Baqeri said.

Powers back US
Britain, Germany and France backed the United States and blamed Iran on Monday for an attack on Saudi oil facilities, urging Tehran to agree to new talks with world powers on its nuclear and missile programs and regional security issues.

The Europeans issued a joint statement after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron met at the United Nations on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders. But Iran ruled out the possibility of negotiating a new deal with powers, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Monday, saying European partners have failed to fulfill their commitments under a 2015 nuclear pact.

European leaders have struggled to defuse a brewing confrontation between Tehran and Washington since Trump quit a deal last year that assures Iran access to world trade in return for curbs on its nuclear program. “The time has come for Iran to accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear programme as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles programme and other means of delivery,” Britain, France and Germany said.

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