Iran hints open to talks with US; China, Russia vow support as sanctions kick-in

Iran hints open to talks with US; China, Russia vow support as sanctions kick-in

Agency News

Washington/Tehran/Beijing, Nov 5: Iran indicated it would be open to talks on a new nuclear accord if the US changes its "approach" to discussing the 2015 agreement it abandoned and reimposed crushing economic sanctions on the Islamic republic's energy and banking sectors that took effect on Monday.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told USA TODAY that his government would consider fresh diplomacy if there were "foundations for a fruitful dialogue" on the nuclear deal.

"Mutual trust is not a requirement to start negotiations – mutual respect is a requirement," Zarif said in an exclusive interview.

He said the Trump "administration does not believe in diplomacy. It believes in imposition" as Iranians braced for the economic sanctions.

Zarif's comments provided a rare indication from Iran's senior leadership that Tehran might consider joining talks with Washington if certain diplomatic conditions were met, said the newspaper.

In recent weeks,Trump has said that he is open to the idea of holding talks with Iran’s leadership, without preconditions, about the prospect of a new nuclear deal.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani meanwhile said the nation faced a "war situation" and vowed that Iran "will sell" its oil. “Today, Iran is able to sell its oil and it will sell,” Rouhani said as the sanctions kicked in.

Iran's military announced it will hold new defense drills to prove its capabilities.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's special envoy Alexander Lavrentiev arrived in Tehran on Monday to express Russia's support for Iran. In a meeting with Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, Lavrentiev said that he has travelled to Tehran to "voice Moscow's unequivocal support for Iran against the fresh round of U.S. sanctions."

China also denounced new US sanctions and vowed to continue its bilateral trade with the Islamic republic.

"China opposes unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.

"We believe that China's normal cooperation (with Iran) within international law is legal and legitimate, and this shall be respected," she said at a regular briefing in the Chinese capital.

China is a signatory to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action along with Britain, France, Germany and Russia.

The European Union, which considers the 2015 deal crucial to its members' national interests, says it will abide by the agreement.

It has come up with a mechanism to facilitate payments for exports from Iran and offset the effects of US sanctions that aim to significantly cut Iran's oil exports -- which have already fallen by around one million barrels a day since May -- and cut it off from international finance.

An earlier round of Washington-administered penalties, impacting Iran’s access to US dollars and its ability to trade certain commodities, took effect in August. (UNI)