GENEVA: The United States constantly sends messages to Iran to begin negotiations, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday in a speech broadcast on state television.
Tensions ramped up between Iran and the United States after President Donald Trump pulled out of a landmark nuclear deal with Iran in May and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic last month.
Trump has said he would meet Iran’s leaders.
“From one side they try to pressure the people of Iran, on another side they send us messages every day through various methods that we should come and negotiate together,” Rouhani said.
He added, “[They say] we should negotiate here, we should negotiate there. We want to resolve the issues… should we see your message?.. or should we see your brutish actions?”
Washington aims to force Tehran to end its nuclear program and its support of militant groups in Syria and Iraq.
US sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector are scheduled to be reimposed in November.
Iran is facing an “economic, psychological and propaganda war”, Rouhani said Saturday, pointing to America and Israel as the Islamic Republic’s main enemies.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani evoked memories of the devastating Iran-Iraq war on Saturday to call for unity in the face of economic hardships and US pressure.
“Today, the government is on the frontlines. This is an economic, psychological and propoganda war,” Rouhani said on state television.
“We had sweet days and we had hard days during the sacred defence,” he said, using the official name for the war with Iraq which claimed up to two million lives between 1980 and 1988.
“But our nation never backed down. Now, too, our nation will not bow before the pressure of a new group in the White House.”
Iran’s economy has been battered in recent months, in part due to Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, which had lifted sanctions in return for curbs to its atomic programme.
Prices are rising and shortages are widespread, while Iran’s currency has lost around 70 percent of its value against the dollar compared with a year ago.