President Hassan Rouhani says there will be no development in Tehran-Washington relations unless the U.S. lifts its sanctions on Iran as a “first step”. Hassan Rouhani said the key to bringing about a positive change in Iran-US ties is in the hands of Washington.

He said the United States should rectify its behavior and return to the right path before there could be any positive developments in mutual ties. The president noted Iran has never sought tension with the world and has always favored regional and global security as well as cooperation with friendly countries.

“We are ready to move in line with all international regulations within the framework of our national interests and security, and we have opted for a path based on making Iran more powerful and securing national might,” he said at a ceremony in Tehran.

“The more our national power increases, the more the enemy will lose hope of hatching plots against Iran, and at the same time, the more our power declines, the more it will raise the enemies’ hope of [plotting against] and greed toward Iran,” he added.

Rouhani said what is important for Iran is security, national interests and achieving the ideals of the Islamic Revolution. He underlined that Iran will work to secure its people’s rights and will stand up to ill-wishers.

Rouhani had earlier suggested that he would meet even his American counterpart Donald Trump if such talks would secure Iran’s interests. Rouhani also shielded his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, against criticism from hard-liners over his surprise visit Sunday to France’s Biarritz, where leaders of the Group of Seven rich democracies were meeting.

Rouhani went on to add, “we are not seeking tension with the world. We want security in the region and across the world. We are ready for cooperation with all friendly countries. We are ready to move in line with our national security and interests while observing all international rules and regulations.”

“If it is needed to talk to someone, we will do so; if it is needed to resist, we will defend [our rights]. If someone is trying to bully us, we will stand against the bully. Our ultimate goal, however, is to preserve Iran’s dignity and power,” said Rouhani.

“Our path is clear: if they return to their commitments, we will return too and resume our commitments. If not, we will continue our own way,” the president added.

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