Photo Credit: Haim Zach / GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Ben Gurion Airport, November 28, 2017.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday morning, before his departure for a quick visit to London, addressed recent statements by President Donald Trump, which could be interpreted as an American call for negotiations with Iran. “This is not the time to have talks with Iran but to increase the pressure,” Netanyahu said.

Asked about the possibility of meeting Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations, Trump said anything was possible.

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“Sure, anything’s possible,” Trump responded to a White House correspondent’s question. “They would like to be able to solve their problem, We could solve it in 24 hours.”

Late Wednesday night, Iranian president Rouhani said that this Friday, his country would take the third step of “scaling down” its nuclear commitments.

Rouhani spoke at a press conference following a trilateral meeting with Judiciary Chief Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani. He said: “The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) is obliged to set aside all commitments in the field of research and development (R&D) as stipulated in nuclear deal.”

Rouhani added, “There is no doubt that the US has failed in the policies of changing, weakening and imposing talks and there is no way for them to go back to the international laws and regulations.” And so, since the remaining signatories to JCPOA could not live up to their commitments after US pullout from the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran is reducing its own commitments.

Last year, the US pulled out of the nuclear deal and reinstated sanctions on Iran. The US currently applies economic, trade, scientific and military sanctions against Iran, including an embargo on any dealings with the Islamic Republic and a ban on selling aircraft and repair parts to Iranian aviation companies.

The renewed sanctions, which bar US companies from trading with Iran, as well as with foreign companies and countries that are dealing with Iran, have severely harmed the Iranian economy. Iran’s GDP contracted by 3.9% in 2018, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects the Iranian economy to shrink by 6% in 2019.

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