FILE - In this April 4, 2015 file photo, Iranian and U.S. banknotes are on display at a currency exchange shop in downtown Tehran, Iran. Iran’s currency is continuing its downward spiral as increased American sanctions loom, hitting a new low on the thriving black market exchange. The Iranian rial fell to 112,000 to the dollar on Sunday, July 29, 2018, from 98,000 to $1 on Saturday. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Iran: Trump needs to rejoin nuclear deal if he wants talks

Trump on Monday said he’d meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “anytime” if the Iranian leader were willing.

Iranian officials reacted skeptically on Tuesday to President Donald Trump’s comments that he’s willing to negotiate with his Iranian counterpart, saying instead that if Trump wants talks, he needs to rejoin the international nuclear deal he unilaterally pulled out of earlier this year.

Trump on Monday said he’d meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “anytime” if the Iranian leader were willing.

In his first public remarks after the comment, Rouhani did not mention Trump at all but instead stressed the need for the other nations involved in the nuclear deal to forge ahead with their pledges of trying to salvage it.

“Today we are at a very critical point in history regarding the nuclear deal, and Europe’s transparent measures to compensate for the United States’ unlawful withdrawal from it are very important for the Iranian nation,” Rouhani said after talks with new British Ambassador Rob Macaire.

In addition to Britain, China, Germany, France, Russia and the European Union are negotiating with Iran on preserving the deal.

The Iranian leadership has previously ruled out one-on-one talks with Trump, following his decision to pull the United States out of the deal under which Iran was given relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency quoted political adviser Hamid Aboutalebi as saying that for talks to happen, the U.S. needs to rejoin the deal.

“Those who believe in dialogue as a method of resolving disputes in civilized societies should be committed to the means,” he said.

Related: Iran dismisses Trump’s explosive threat to country’s leader

Related: Trump puts Iran ‘on notice’ after ballistic missile test

Trump withdrew from the landmark nuclear accord in May, saying it was too generous to Iran. He has vowed to ramp up sanctions until Iran radically changes its regional policies, including its support for regional militant groups, something the country’s leaders have long refused to do.

Even though Trump on Monday said if Rouhani were to meet with him there would be “no preconditions,” he also did not walk back from any of those earlier demands.

With the first U.S. sanctions due to come into effect next Monday, the economy in Iran has already been hit, giving rise to growing fears of prolonged economic suffering. Another round, covering other types of commerce, including oil purchases, goes into effect Nov. 4.

Rouhani on Tuesday again suggested Iran could cause major disruptions in the Gulf region by attempting to block key shipping lanes, saying “Iran has never sought tensions in the region and does not want there to be any problem for the world’s waterways, but it will never let go of its right to export oil,” the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

With the U.S. sanctions looming, the Iranian currency has been in freefall, hitting a new low Monday, at 122,000 rial to the dollar on the thriving black market. It recovered slightly to 115,000 to the dollar on Tuesday, and concerns are growing as Iranians have seen their savings dwindle and purchasing power drop.

Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, the head of influentialparliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, suggested a U.S. return to the nuclear deal, which would bring an end to the economic uncertainty, would be needed before Tehran could think of negotiating.

“There can be no negotiations with the Americans raising the issue of talks from the position of power,” he was quoted as saying on the website of the Iranian parliament, calling Trump’s decision to pull out of the nuclear deal the “biggest blow to diplomacy.”

Reformist lawmaker Mostafa Kavakebian questioned negotiating with Trump, calling him “untrustworthy,” and also said now was not the time for talks.

“If this negotiation (is) carried out in any form, then it will be considered as surrender and the Iranian nation will not surrender,” he said.

Amir Vahdat, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Mackenzie Interchange pump failure sends contaminated water into Colquitz River

Sediment release in salmon-bearing river a serious threat to aquatic life, says local activist

WATCH: Booze, weed both have fatal consequences

Video shows how easily impairment affects driving

Catch last call and a cheap ride home: Late night buses coming to Victoria in 2019

New plan will extend service on weekends with last trip leaving downtown at 3 a.m.

1,000 free Christmas meals served at Our Place

Community donations fuel support for those in need

Uvic to launch app to link drug users with Naloxone kits

Researchers have spent the last year developing the Nal-Pal app

Santa visits some of Victoria General Hospital’s littlest patients

Santa flew in to the hospital via air ambulance helicopter

READER POLL: Do you have turkey or ham for Christmas dinner?

What are you having for Christmas dinner? Canadians gobbled up 3.3 million… Continue reading

Lightning top Canucks 5-2 in feisty battle

NHL’s No. 1 team too much for Vancouver

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 18, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Bear cubs try to take Vancouver Island woman’s Christmas cookies

Incident happened in the early-morning hours today, Dec. 18, in Nanaimo

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

VIDEO: Tornado rips through city west of Seattle

Reports indicate five to seven homes damaged in Port Orchard, Wash.

Most Read