Times of Oman
Talk about renegotiating nuclear deal 'meaningless', says Iranian president
January 17, 2017 | 9:31 PM
by Reuters
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gives a press conference in Tehran on January 17, 2017, to mark the first anniversary of the implementation of a historic nuclear deal. Photo - AFP
 
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Dubai: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday US President-elect Trump cannot unilaterally cancel the nuclear deal Tehran signed with world powers including Washington and that talk of renegotiating it was "meaningless".

Trump, who will take office on Friday, has called the July 2015 agreement "the worst deal ever negotiated". He has threatened to either scrap the agreement or seek a better deal.

Under Iran's agreement with the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, Tehran agreed to shrink its nuclear programme to satisfy the powers that it could not be put to developing atomic bombs. In exchange, Iran received relief from sanctions, most of which were lifted in January 2016.

"The president elect has shown he is not happy about the nuclear deal, calling it the worst deal ever signed. This is only empty talk," Rouhani told a news conference on the anniversary of the removal of sanctions.



"I don't think he can do much when he goes to the White House," added Rouhani, a moderate who, through the diplomatic opening engineered a thaw in the country's long antagonistic relations with the West.

Rouhani said he was hopeful about the future of the nuclear deal, which has been buttressed by a UN Security Council resolution, calling talk about renegotiation "meaningless."

"I am optimistic about the future of the nuclear deal... (It) is good for the United States, but he (Trump) doesn't understand," said Rouhani, whose remarks were broadcast live on state television.

Rex Tillerson, Trump's nominee for US Secretary of State, said last week that he would recommend a "full review" of the nuclear deal but did not call for an outright rejection.

Rouhani also said that at least 10 countries have offered to mediate between Saudi Arabia and Iran, noting that Tehran would restore ties with Riyadh if Saudi Arabia changes it regional policies.

Answering a question about Iraq and Kuwait's reported offer to help defuse the tension, Rouhani said: "There are many countries. You mentioned Iraq and Kuwait. There are eight to 10 other countries in my mind now whose officials have talked to us about this."

He said Iran is not seeking to eliminate Saudi Arabia from regional politics and will offer its help to Riyadh if "it takes the right decision" and ends its military intervention in Yemen and stops what he called its meddling in Bahraini affairs.

Meanwhile, Iran will be granted a licence to become a mobile service operator in Syria under agreements to expand economic ties between the countries.

Five memorandums of understanding were signed at a ceremony attended by Syrian Prime Minister Emad Khamis and Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri in Tehran on Tuesday, building on ties that have included billions of dollars of Iranian support for Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's efforts to regain control of parts of his country from rebel groups.

A consortium affiliated to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) controls much of Iran's telecoms sector after it bought 50 per cent plus one share in the state telecoms company in 2009.

More than 1,000 soldiers deployed by the IRGC to Syria have been killed on the front lines of the Syrian conflict in recent years.

Also Iran opposes a US presence in peace talks on the Syria conflict that are planned for January 23 in Kazakhstan's capital Astana, Tasnim news agency quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying on Tuesday.

Answering a question about Iran's stance over possible US involvement, Zarif said: "We have not invited them, and we are against their presence."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday he thought it was right to invite the Trump administration to peace talks on the Syria.

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