US will not lift sanctions to negotiate with Iran

Donald Trump tweeted his reaction to an article published by Der Spiegel. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 26 January 2020

US will not lift sanctions to negotiate with Iran

  • Zarif said Iran is still open to negotiations with US if sanctions are lifted
  • Exchange comes after Iran says it has the capacity to enrich uranium at any percentage it likes

DUBAI: The United States will not lift sanctions on Iran in order to negotiate, US President Donald Trump tweeted late on Saturday, seemingly in response to a Der Spiegel interview with Iran’s foreign minister.
“Iranian Foreign Minister says Iran wants to negotiate with The United States, but wants sanctions removed. @FoxNews @OANN No Thanks!” Trump tweeted in English on Saturday and later in Farsi.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded on Sunday by tweeting an excerpt from the interview with Der Spiegel published on Friday, where he said Iran is still open to negotiations with America if sanctions are lifted.
“@realdonaldtrump is better advised to base his foreign policy comments & decisions on facts, rather than @FoxNews headlines or his Farsi translators,” Zarif said in the tweet with the interview excerpt.
Tensions between Iran and the United States have reached the highest levels in decades after the US killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad on Jan. 3, prompting Iran to fire missiles days later at bases in Iraq where US troops are stationed.
Tensions between the two have been increasing steadily since Trump pulled the United States out of Iran’s nuclear pact with world powers in 2018 and reimposed sanctions that have driven down Iran’s oil exports and hammered its economy.
The deputy head of Iran's nuclear agency said in a report published on Saturday that Iran has the capacity to enrich uranium at any percentage if Iranian authorities decide to do so.
"At the moment, if (Iranian authorities) make the decision, the Atomic Energy Organization, as the executor, will be able to enrich uranium at any percentage," Ali Asghar Zarean said.
Iran said earlier this month it would scrap limitations on enriching uranium, taking a further step back from commitments to a 2015 nuclear deal with six major powers, but pledged to continue cooperating with the U.N. nuclear watchdog.
Since Iran took the latest step in reducing commitments to the accord, the country's stock of uranium produced has passed 1,200 kilograms and it will quickly be added to the stock of enriched uranium, Zarean said.
The United States says it aims to force Tehran to agree a broader deal that puts stricter limits on its nuclear work, curbs a ballistic missile program and ends regional proxy wars. Iran says it will not negotiate while sanctions remain in place.
Tehran has steadily been reducing its compliance with the deal, which prompted Britain, France and Germany to formally accuse it in mid-January of violating the terms and activating a dispute mechanism in the deal, which could eventually lead to the reimposition of U.N. sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said last week that if Iran's nuclear file is sent to the U.N. Security Council, the country will withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), according to the official IRNA news agency.
Iran denies any intent to acquire nuclear weapons and says its breaches of the deal would be reversed if Washington lifts sanctions.


LIVE: Countries ease coronavirus regulations to reverse coronavirus pandemic impact on economies

Updated 17 min 7 sec ago

LIVE: Countries ease coronavirus regulations to reverse coronavirus pandemic impact on economies

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia announced it was easing the 24-hour lockdown brought into force during Eid – except in Makkah.
The initial timings will be from 3 p.m. until 6 a.m., but May 31, the curfew will run from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. The Kingdom plans to remove all curfews by June 21.
Meanwhile, Dubai will allow free movement and business activity to restart during the day from Wednesday. The new timing of the curfew will be from 11.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m., the Dubai Media Office said in a press release.
May 26, 2020, Wednesday (All times in GMT)

07:04 – Daejeon, a cafe in South Korea, hires a robot barista to help with social distancing.

05:56 – The WHO suspended trials of the drug that Donald Trump has promoted as a coronavirus defence, fuelling concerns about the US president's handling of the pandemic that has killed nearly 100,000 Americans.
04:52 – South American carrier LATAM Airlines says it is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it grapples with the sharp downturn in air travel sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
Santiago, Chile-based LATAM Airlines Group S.A. said Tuesday that it and its affiliated companies launched the reorganization effort in the United States.
04:49 – Singapore’s embattled economy could shrink by as much as 7 percent this year, which would be the county’s worst reading since its independence, with the government saying Tuesday the coronavirus pandemic had throttled the key export sector.
The city-state is seen as a bellwether of the global economy and the historic contraction highlights the extreme pain being wrought on countries by the killer disease.
04:44 – Thailand on Tuesday reported three new coronavirus cases and no new deaths, bringing its total to 3,045 confirmed cases and 57 fatalities.