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Iran's Rouhani shuns Trump call for talks on eve of sanctions

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By Pascale Davies
Iran's Rouhani shuns Trump call for talks on eve of sanctions

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has dismissed a US call for talks ahead of economic sanctions being reimposed on Tuesday, following Washington's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement.

“We are always in favour of diplomacy and talks... But talks need honesty,” Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state television.

Sanctions will be reimposed on Iran's ability to purchase US dollars as well as its trade in gold and other key metals. It will take effect from 00:01 EDT (06:01 CEST) on Tuesday.

Later in the year, the US will also reimpose sanctions on Iran's oil and energy exports and transactions with the central bank.

US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran deal in May, which lifted international sanctions on Tehran in return for curbs on its nuclear programme. The Trump administration has said that the curbs did not go far enough and it wants to renegotiate with Iran.

The UK, France and Germany expressed "deep regret" at the US pulling out of the nuclear agreement, and have scrambled to rescue the deal.

The US has said the only way Iran could prevent the sanctions would be to agree on new negotiations over its missile and nuclear programmes.

“The US reimposes sanctions on Iran and pulls out of the (2015) nuclear deal, and then wants to hold talks with us,” Rouhani said. “Trump’s call for direct talks is only for domestic consumption in America ahead of elections ... and to create chaos in Iran.”

Iranians worried by the impending sanctions have rushed to buy dollars, gold coins, cars, and small apartments to store up their savings, while the severe shortage of hard currencies has pushed up the price of goods.

Over the last four months, the rial has nosedived and lost 50% of its value against the dollar.