Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an interview with The New York Times that Iran and the US would both benefit from a diplomatic resolution of the ongoing standoff between the two countries, underscoring that any resolution must happen in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
“World peace, economy and culture would greatly benefit from us working together,” Ahmadinejad said in an interview published Friday. “The US wants to address wider issues than the JCPOA. The issues at stake are more important and wider than whether the JCPOA should live or die. We need to have a fundamental discussion.”
According to Ahmadinejad, Iran recognizes Trump’s “business” approach to politics and suggests striking deals to achieve a win-win situation.
“Mr. Trump is a man of action,” Ahmadinejad said, according to The New York Times. “He is a businessman and therefore he is capable of calculating cost-benefits and making a decision. We say to him, let’s calculate the long-term cost-benefit of our two nations and not be shortsighted.”
Ahmadinejad underscored, however, that any deal can only be struck in a benevolent and respectful atmosphere and noted that Washington’s “maximum pressure policy” only discourages negotiations.
“If you choke the throat of anyone in the world and say come and talk, it won’t be valid,” he said. “Negotiations must take place in calmer, more respectful conditions so they can be long lasting.”
Ahmadinejad suggested that, for talks to take place, the US must remove sanctions that Washington reimposed after leaving the Iran nuclear deal.
In the meantime, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei observed that Trump cannot be trusted after his surprise 2018 exit from the nuclear deal and has said no to talks with Trump under any condition.
According to Ahmadinejad, however, Khamenei could authorize talks with Washington, as he did during the Obama administration, only if the Trump administration changes its approach.
After the US withdrew from the multilateral Iran nuclear deal, European signatories, as well as Russia, China and Iran, vowed to uphold the treaty. Europe, however, failed to provide Iran with an effective trade mechanism to bypass US sanctions.
One year after the US withdrawal, Iran announced it would partially suspend its obligations under the deal and gave the EU a 60-day deadline.
In July, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, Abbas Araqchi, announced an additional 60-day deadline, noting that more obligations will be suspended should Europe fail to act.