Problems in Iran, US ties are long-standing, says Rouhani

Tehran, Nov 14 (IANS) Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has dismissed claims that the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers, including the US, in July has had an impact on Tehran’s ties with Washington, differentiating between the two issues, the media reported on Saturday.

“The nuclear deal is one thing and the relationship with the US is another,” Press TV quoted President Rouhani as saying in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the US, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany — finalised the text of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) over Iran’s nuclear programme in the Austrian capital of Vienna on July 14.

Under the JCPOA, limits will be put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all nuclear-related economic and financial bans against Iran.

President Rouhani described the problems in Iran-US relations as “long-standing”, saying they started following the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and “have persisted” since then.

The Iranian president said that even following the signing of the JCPOA the US will not lift all sanctions against Tehran but only those related to the nuclear programme.

“Therefore, the relationship between Iran and the US is a different issue. But the way we’ll implement the agreement can have an impact on the future,” he pointed out.

He emphasized that if the JCPOA is implemented well it will lay the foundations for “lesser tensions” with the US and create “the conditions for a new era”.

“But if the Americans don’t meet their nuclear deal commitments, then our relationship will certainly be the same as in the past,” the Iranian president said.

Earlier, the top leader of Iran Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei ruled out any negotiations between Tehran and Washington on matters other than the nuclear issue.

Iran “did not and will not hold talks with the US on issues other than nuclear negotiations,” he said on September 9, adding that the US animosity towards Iran cannot be concealed.

“One (US official) smiles, while another draws up a (legislative) bill against Iran.”

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