TEHRAN – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that he is willing to meet with the leaders of the six great world powers, including the United States, but only to discuss the nuclear pact and not to benefit US President Donald Trump’s election campaign.
“I have clearly said to the leaders of the European countries that if we can assure ourselves that it’s a meeting with the 5+1 group and is not an electoral meeting for Mr. Trump, I will meet,” Rouhani told reporters at a press conference.
“Insofar as I can assure myself that benefits to ... Iran will come from a meeting and the weight of the pressure on the (Iranian) people can be eliminated, I will accept with honor,” said Rouhani, “although I may be a victim,” he added referring to the expected opposition to such a meeting he will face in Iran for attending a meeting that the US also attends.
The Iranian leader added that “on the issue of the nuclear accord, the US government, due to the pressure from extremist Americans, the Zionist regime (referring to Israel) and Saudi Arabia, made a big mistake and withdrew.”
Rouhani said that the Islamic Republic of Iran has good ties with China and Russia, among the countries who are parties to the nuclear (namely the US, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China), but with regard to the three European countries, with whom he disagrees for having followed the US, he said that “regrettably they have not kept their promises.”
The Iranian leader reiterated that Tehran will continue to gradually reduce the commitments it had made under the pact – every two months it has scaled back on those commitments – until the European countries that remain in the accord once again fully assume their own commitments.
“If they return to their commitments, we will return. If they don’t return, we’ll continue with the reduction of our commitments,” he stated.
“In the first step, we undertook the reduction of (our) commitments on the issue of the size of our enriched uranium reserve and we have exceeded the limit of 300 kilograms, and we’ve also mentioned our stance regarding heavy water,” with the pact limiting Iran to a reserve of 130 tons.
Iran, in the second phase of its scale-back implemented in July, set aside the 3.67 percent purity limit for its enriched uranium and exceeded that level.
“We increased our level of enrichment and we’ve reached 4.5 percent,” said Rouhani, adding that in the third phase Iran is doing what it had announced, specifically “that we no longer adhere to the agenda set forth in the nuclear pact on the issues of research and development.”
“Currently, our IR-6 and IR-4 centrifuges are working and soon our IR-7 and IR-9 centrifuges will be placed on line,” Rouhani said regarding Iran’s enrichment operations.
Last year, Trump withdrew the US from the nuclear pact signed in 2015 between Iran and the six world powers and imposed harsh sanctions on Tehran, and in November Iran will implement the third phase of its scale-back from its commitments under the pact.