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Rouhani Rules Out Bilateral US Talks

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday his country would not hold bilateral talks with the United States.

Speaking to parliament, Rouhani said the only way negotiations would happen is if the United States lifts all of its sanctions against Iran, and that such talks would involve the other signatories of the 2015 international nuclear deal.

U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement last year after being a sharp critic of the terms agreed to between Iran and a group of nations that included Britain, China, France, Russia, Germany and the European Union.

Trump last week expressed openness to meeting with Rouhani, saying "there's a really good chance" they would talk. The U.S. leader wants any new deal to go further than the 2015 pact to include not only restrictions on Iran's nuclear activity but also banning it from testing ballistic missiles.

Rouhani reiterated Tuesday that Iran wants European nations to commit to buying oil to circumvent U.S. sanctions or else Iran plans to further step back from the nuclear agreement.

Already Iran has gone past the stated limit on the amount of enriched uranium it can hold as well the limit on the level to which it can enrich. It hasn't specified what the next step would be, but potential options include enriching to an even higher level or restarting centrifuges it had agreed to stop using.