Rouhani said France had prepared a plan whose “core could have been acceptable” because it required Iran to agree never to acquire a nuclear weapon and emphasized peace in the area and its waterways. Rouhani said Iran was already committed to both.
He also said the plan required the United States stop all sanctions and allow oil trade, starting immediately.
The Politico report, citing French officials, said that although the U.S. and Iranian presidents agreed on the French plan, the two leaders did not meet after Rouhani insisted that Trump first give an indication that the United States would lift sanctions on Iran.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s attempt to then set up a phone call between Rouhani and Trump failed after Rouhani declined to participate, the report said.
In his speech on Wednesday, Rouhani did not say whether he had insisted on a sign from Trump that sanctions would be lifted, and he did not mention the canceled phone call.
“Many might think that the New York talks were a solution, but they weren’t,” Rouhani said. “The solution of such an important matter cannot be achieved in such a short time and without studying all its aspects and the way they wanted to abuse it at that point of time.”
He also said that while U.S. officials were telling the Europeans in private calls that they are ready for negotiations, they were saying in interviews that they were going to tighten sanctions on Iran.
“I turned to Macron and told him, ‘Shall I believe you, or shall I believe the U.S. president who is tightening the sanctions on my country?’” Rouhani said.
Tehran accepts the main framework of the plan — “with some minor changes in the terms and vocabulary,” he added.
A 2015 nuclear agreement, negotiated during the Obama administration between Iran and six world powers including the United States, said in its first paragraph: “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.” Trump withdrew the United States from the accord last year and reimposed tough U.S. sanctions that had been lifted in return for the deal’s restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.
Later on Wednesday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Iranian supreme leader, said Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy against Iran has failed.
The Americans “have recently had a failed attempt with the help of their European friends to have a meeting with our president and put on a show of Iran’s defeat,” he said during a meeting with members of the High Council of the Commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“They failed so far, and this policy will fail forever,” Khamenei said.
He also said Tehran will “seriously continue” to reduce its commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the Iran nuclear deal is officially known.
Last month, Trump announced that he had ordered a substantial increase in sanctions on Iran after it warned the United States that it would retaliate against any attacks.
Tehran and Washington have been embroiled in a standoff following a devastating attack on a Saudi oil facility that severely affected the country’s oil production.
On Wednesday, speaking at a news conference in Italy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “We remain hopeful that there will be an opportunity to discuss with the Iranians the path forward.”
Pompeo added: “President Trump has said repeatedly we are working every day to deter — with the maritime initiative that we have in the Strait in Hormuz — to de-escalate, and to create opportunities for diplomacy. That’s the approach that we have taken, and it’s the one we will continue to take.”