Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said on February 16 that Tehran will never hold talks with the United States under pressure. According to international reports, he further added that Iran's contribution is essential for the establishment of peace in the Middle East region. This comes as the relations between both US and Iran have reached a crisis point in 2018 after Washington abandoned the nuclear deal of 2015 between Iran and the world powers under which Tehran had accepted to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions.
However, the existing tensions further hiked when on January 3, United States President Donald Trump-led air raid killed top Iranian general commander Wassem Soleimani in Baghdad along with six others. According to media reports, Trump has said that the US will adopt a policy of “maximum pressure” in order to force Iran into the negotiation of a broader deal that further decreases the nuclear activity of the country while ending Tehran's missile program along with its involvement in the regional proxy wars.
Meanwhile, in a televised news conference, Rouhani said that “Iran will never negotiate under pressure” further adding that his country “will not negotiate from a position of weakness”. Even after American sanctions taking a toll on Iran's economy, the Iranian officials have declined talks with the United States over any new deal. Tehran has re-insisted that any future negotiations are only possible if Washington removes sanctions and returns to the existing pact.
According to Iran's President, the policy of Trump which is based on increasing pressure on Iran is “doomed to fail”. He also called the US as Iran's “enemy” and claimed that America is aware of the fact that “pressure in inefficient”. Furthermore, the Iranian President has also claimed that in order to acquire peace and stability in the “sensitive” region of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf is “impossible without Iran's help”.
Amid soaring US-Iran tensions, Tehran also refused the allegations by the US that Iran's satellite programme has a military dimension. The country's state news agency quoted Defence Minister Amir Hatami saying that the subject satellite launch is a 'civilian matter'. Hatami added that even though satellites can be used for defence purposes, the satellite launcher is a 'completely non-defensive subject'. According to him, 'there is no prohibition in the world' against the programme.
However, Washington accused Tehran that the country is using satellites in order to cover up its missile programme. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly said that the technology involved to launch the satellites was'virtually identical' to the know-how for long-range ballistic missiles.