Trump Slaps New Sanctions On Iran While Urging Talks
The sanctions target Iranian purchases of U.S. dollars, metals trading, coal, industrial software and its auto sector.
WASHINGTON/ANKARA (Reuters) -- President Donald Trump’s top security adviser on Monday urged Iran to take up an offer of talks with the United States or suffer more pain from economic sanctions, but Iran’s president said Washington needed first to prove it can be trusted.
Hours before revived U.S. sanctions were due to kick in, White House national security adviser John Bolton said Iran should pay heed to Trump’s willingness to negotiate.
“They could take up the president’s offer to negotiate with them, to give up their ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs fully and really verifiably,” Bolton told Fox News.
“If the ayatollahs want to get out from under the squeeze, they should come and sit down. The pressure will not relent while the negotiations go on,” said Bolton, one of the administration’s main hawks on Iran.
So-called snapback sanctions, due to come into force early on Tuesday, target Iranian purchases of U.S. dollars, metals trading, coal, industrial software and its auto sector.
Foes for decades, the United States and Iran have been increasingly at odds over Iran’s growing political and military influence in the Middle East since Trump took office in January 2017.
The renewed sanctions were among those lifted under a 2015 deal between world powers and Tehran on curbing Iran’s nuclear program. Trump abandoned the deal in May. Heavier U.S. sanctions, aimed at Iran’s oil sector, are due in November.
Iran’s rial currency has lost half its value since April under the threat of revived U.S. sanctions. The currency’s collapse and soaring inflation have sparked sporadic demonstrations in Iran against profiteering and corruption, with many protesters chanting anti-government slogans.
President Hassan Rouhani on Monday said Iran could hold talks with the United States only if Washington proved its trustworthiness.
Rouhani implied that if the United States signed up again to the nuclear deal and lifted sanctions, then that could pave the ground for negotiations.
“If you stab someone with a knife and then you say you want talks, then the first thing you have to do is remove the knife,” Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state television.
“We are always in favor of diplomacy and talks. ... But talks need honesty,” Rouhani said. He called on Iranians to unite in the face of hardship. “There will be pressure because of sanctions, but we will overcome this with unity,” he said.
Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal, saying it fails to address Iran’s ballistic missile program, the terms by which inspectors visit suspect Iranian nuclear sites, and “sunset” clauses under which some of its terms expire.
The two countries are also in dispute over Iran’s involvement in Middle Eastern conflicts from Yemen to Syria and tensions between Tehran and Israel.