Iran’s Rouhani Says No to Talks Under U.S. Pressure

By Parisa Hafezi

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 25 (Reuters) Iran will never hold talks with the United States under pressure, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, but added that lifting all the sanctions Washington imposed on Tehran and respecting a U.N. Security Council resolution could pave the way for talks.

“Our response to talks under pressure is NO,” said Rouhani, but warned that Iran might exit a 2015 nuclear deal if the European powers failed to salvage the deal.

“We are committed to the nuclear deal … but Iran‘s patience has a limit,” said the pragmatic president, who was architect of the deal with six powers.

Iran has criticized the European parties to the deal for their failure to protect Iran‘s interests by shielding them from U.S. penalties which has been reimposed and tightened since last year when Washington exited the pact.

In retaliation, Iran has gradually reduced its commitments to the agreement.

The confrontation between arch enemies Iran and the United States has ratcheted up after attacks on Saudi oil facilities on Sept. 14 that Washington, the EU and Riyadh blame on Tehran despite its denials.

Rouhani said the only way to secure peace and safety in the Gulf was strengthening “consolidation among all the nations with common interests in the Persian Gulf and the Hormuz region.”

He said to those countries that “we are neighbors with you, not with America” and called for the United States to withdraw troops from the region.

(Reporting by Parisa Hafezi and Michelle Nichols; editing by Grant McCool)