President Hassan Rouhani said Friday that Iran’s abidance by nuclear inspections proves it does not seek to develop atomic weapons. “Some were saying this third step, that you want to set up modern centrifuges, means that you are moving towards a nuclear weapon. We explained that someone who wants a nuclear weapon... limits comprehensive inspections. We have not reduced inspections,” said Rouhani on state television.
Iran fired up advanced centrifuges to boost its enriched uranium stockpiles on September 7 as the latest scaling back of commitments under the crumbling 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
Last year, the relations between Washington and Tehran soared after US President Donald Trump pulled out of a nuclear accord with Iran, negotiated under former president Barack Obama.
The United States also imposed sanctions on Iran’s sovereign wealth fund, whose board of trustees includes President Hassan Rouhani, as well as Etemad Tejarate Pars, a company that the Treasury Department said had sent money internationally on behalf of Iran’s defence ministry.
Addressing the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, Rouhani said, “I would like to announce that our response to any negotiation under sanctions is negative”. This has come despite last-minute efforts by French President Emmanuel Macron to ease out tensions between Washington and Tehran. Macron was trying to arrange the historic encounter between Trump and Rouhani that could have reduced the tensions.
“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,” Rouhani added.
Earlier, Trump while addressing the UNGA had already ruled out any possibility of easing economic pressure on Iran. Tensions between Iran and US ratcheted up after the Trump administration announced that it would unilaterally force all countries to stop buying Iran’s oil, which is its major export.