“I, myself, am in favor of negotiation and diplomacy, but do not approve of it under the current circumstances at all,” the president said on Monday, meeting with a number of religious scholars and personalities in the capital Tehran.
Rouhani reminded how the country had rejected a proposal for talks made by five world leaders during his visit to the United Nations’ headquarters in New York last year. Also last year, Tehran likewise ignored eight separate offers for negotiation with Washington, which had been forwarded by the US State Department, he added.
“The circumstances of the day are not [such that would be appropriate] for negotiation at all. Today, our situation is [one characterized by] resistance and steadfastness,” the chief executive stated.
There Iranian people and authorities see perfectly eye to eye on the premise of resistance against the United States and its sanctions, Rouhani said.
He, however, asserted, “I do not perceive the road ahead to be a dead-end one at all,” adding that in order for the country to surmount the obstacles in its way “all have to realize that we are in conditions of economic war, and should help one another out.”
The president hailed that Iran was never the one to start matters in its standing conflict with the US.
He was referring to the US’s remarkably stoking tensions with Iran last year by leaving a multi-lateral nuclear agreement with Tehran, and then returning the sanctions that had been lifted under the deal.
Iran warns UN
Also on Monday, the contents were published of a letter addressed by Iran’s UN envoy Majid Takht-e Ravanchi to the world body’s secretary-general, warning about the “alarming security situation in the broader Persian Gulf region.”
The letter cautioned that “certain [extra-regional] circles” were trying to escalate the already-sensitive state of affairs in the region.
The caution echoed one raised by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who told Fox News last month about a dangerous path, which has been taken by the B-Team. Zarif identified the posse as the markedly hawkish US National Security Advisor John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Washington has been enlisting the assistance of its regional allies in implementing US President Donald Trump’s trademark policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran. Recently, it said that it would target every country potentially buying Iran’s oil as of May 2 with “secondary sanctions.” Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates immediately reported that they would be making up for potential shortages of the Iranian crude.
Those circles, the envoys said, were trying to do so using “fabrications, disinformation, fake intelligence, and fake news,” and also by “relying on the support of their allies in the Middle East as well as dispatching naval forces to the region.”
The US has also dispatched an aircraft carrier strike group, a bomber taskforce, and an assault ship to the Persian Gulf, citing an alleged likelihood that Iran could target American interests in the region.
Following the departure of the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, The Guardian cited one report, which had showed “information passed on by Israeli intelligence contributed to the US threat assessment.”
“Iran has always rejected and continues to reject conflict and war,” the letter read, and urged that the international community in general, and the United Nations in particular, to refuse to remain indifferent with regard to addressing the root causes of the current situation.
It proposed “a win-win approach” through active engagement and dialog among the Persian Gulf’s maritime states.
The United Nations also voiced concern on Monday about increasingly bellicose rhetoric between the United States and Iran and called on them to dial down their remarks.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, meanwhile, said, “We are concerned about the rising rhetoric,” urging “all parties to lower the rhetoric and lower the threshold of action as well.”
N officials are holding contacts with the US and Iran at various levels to try to calm the situation, said Dujarric, but he did not provide details of those talks.
Oman FM in Iran
Separately, it was reported that the foreign minister of Oman, which in the past has taken an intermediary role between Washington and Tehran, visited Tehran on Monday. Meeting with Zarif, the two top diplomats addressed regional and international issues.
Iraq has also proposed to intercede amid the high-stakes situation.