Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said Monday he has no plan to meet President Donald Trump in New York this week, citing U.S. “sanctions and threats” against Tehran, NBC News reported.
In an interview with the news outlet, Rouhani said as a precondition for any dialogue, the United States has to repair damage done by exiting the 2015 nuclear deal last May, saying: "That bridge must be rebuilt."
For now, Rouhani declared, there’s "no such program for a meeting."
"Naturally, if someone is keen on having a meeting and holding dialogue and creating progress in relationships, that person would not use the tool of sanctions and threats [and bring] to bear all of its power against another government and nation," Rouhani added. "That means that the necessary willpower is absent in order to resolve outstanding issues."
The refusal came as Rouhani was in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly session - and a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held the door open for a sit-down between the two leaders.
"He’s happy to talk with folks at any time," Pompeo said in a pre-recorded interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press." "The president’s been pretty clear about that."
A defiant Rouhani also asserted his country could withstand U.S. economic sanctions, calling Washington's threats to choke off Iranian oil exports an "empty promise."
"The United States is not capable of bringing our oil exports to zero," Rouhani said.
"It's a threat that is empty of credibility. Perhaps on this path, we will sustain certain pressures but certainly the United States will not reach its objective."
The 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, imposed strict limits on Iran's nuclear program in return for lifting crippling international and U.S. sanctions on the country.
Since Trump pulled the United States out of the accord, a first round of economic sanctions was implemented in August, while a reintroduction of sanctions on Iran's oil and gas industry is planned to take effect Nov. 4, NBC News reported.
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