No UN breakthrough: Iran rules out talks as US intensifies sanctions

United Nations, United States, Sept 26 (AFP/APP):Iran’s president on Wednesday closed the door on meeting Donald Trump despite last-minute European efforts to ease tensions as the United States again ramped up punishing sanctions.

French President Emmanuel Macron had shuttled between his US and Iranian counterparts over two days at the United Nations, trying to arrange a historic encounter that he hoped could reduce the risk of all-out war in the Middle East.

But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, addressing the UN General Assembly, said he would refuse talks so long as the United States maintains its economic pressure.

“I would like to announce that our response to any negotiation under sanctions is negative,” Rouhani said.

He dismissed the idea of a photo-op with Trump, who is fond of drama and held three made-for-television meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “Memento photos are the final stage of negotiations, not the first one,” he said.

He doubted the sincerity of the Trump administration to negotiate, pointing to officials’ boasts of applying “the harshest sanctions in history” against Iran.

“How can someone believe them when the silent killing of a great nation, and pressure on the lives of 83 million Iranians, especially women and children, are welcomed by American government officials?”

“The Iranian nation will never, ever forget and forgive these crimes and these criminals,” he said.

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