Trump did not invite Khamenei or Rouhani to Washington, but Tehran is still optimistic about agreement despite tough stance on Iran’s ballistic missile programme
Iran’s supreme leader has said the US was not ready to lift sanctions despite President Donald Trump’s tweets in which he said a 2015 nuclear deal would stay in place so long as Iran continued to keep its commitments.
Mohammad Khamenei said the United States could not be trusted.
“The US is not ready to fully lift sanctions. Trump did not invite me or the president. If the US withdraws from the deal, the Americans will be the major losers and will be isolated. The Europeans will be the winners and the Americans will be losers,” Khamenei said in a speech on Thursday, according to his website.
The deal between Iran and world powers, including Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, restricts Iran’s nuclear programme in return for the lifting of international sanctions. Trump pulled the US out of the accord last month, leaving Europe scrambling to salvage it.
Tehran still hopes that the deal will go ahead even if some sanctions stay in place, saying the pact was a “historic achievement”, according to the state news agency IRNA.
“Trump did not invite the presidents of Iran or Germany, but he invited the UN secretary general and the European foreign ministers. This goes to show that the intention is to hurt Iran,” Khamenei said.
However, Khamenei added that Iran had no interest in starting another war. “We have had enough of war and we will not start another one,” IRNA quoted him as saying.
“The conditionality of the deal should not be linked to the nuclear programme and missile programme, but to economy. I think these conditions can be met. It will not be easy but we will meet them,” Khamenei said.
During a visit to Washington last month, Rouhani said if there was no progress in talks with Europe on how to salvage the deal, Iran would withdraw from it.
Rouhani is negotiating the future of the deal in a two-day visit to Kazakhstan, including proposed joint oil projects with China and Russia that Washington wants curbed to make it stricter than it is now.
Trump sent Iran a cryptic message on Wednesday, though it was not clear what it meant, warning that talks with Tehran were not an “open-ended process” and that it was “high time to start paying real costs” for it to ignore US demands.