Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday ruled out negotiations with the United States so long as sanctions are in place and said he was not interested in a “memento photo” with President Donald Trump.
“I would like to announce that our response to any negotiation under sanctions is negative,” Rouhani said in an address to the UN General Assembly.
As European leaders sought to arrange a tension-reducing encounter between the Iranian and US presidents, Rouhani dismissed what he saw a photo-op for the media-hungry Trump.
“Memento photos are the final stage of negotiations, not the first one,” he said.
He doubted the sincerity of the United States to negotiate, pointing to Trump administration officials’ boasts of damage inflicted by sanctions on Iran.
“We cannot believe the invitation to negotiations by people who claim to have applied the harshest sanctions in history against the dignity and prosperity of our nation,” he said.
“How can someone believe them when the silent killing of a great nation, and pressure on the lives of 83 million Iranians, especially women and children, are welcomed by American government officials?”
“The Iranian nation will never, ever forget and forgive these crimes and these criminals,” he said.