Trump doesn’t want war ahead of 2020 vote: Iranian President


He said that Persian Gulf nations like the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar stood a lot to lose if conflict between Iran and the US turns to war.

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Tehran and Washington came close to an open conflict in January, when a US drone strike killed Iran’s top general, Qasem Soleimani, outside Baghdad. Iran retaliated with missile strikes on a base housing US troops in Iraq.

Tensions have been escalating steadily since Trump pulled the US out of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran.

Rouhani reiterated that the US should rejoin the nuclear deal if it wants to return to negotiations.

“We will finally get the enemy to sit at the negotiating table some day, like before,” said Rouhani, referring to the US.

Rouhani also encouraged Iranians to turnout in large numbers for parliamentary elections on Friday, as a show of defiance against the US.

“Americans will not be happy with a high-turnout,”he said. “Surely they will be happy with a low-turnout election.”

Iran’s parliamentary elections are seen as a test of the popularity of Rouhani’s relatively moderate and pro-reform bloc led. His government, however, has mostly struggled to deliver on campaign promises to improve people’s lives as Iran’s economy buckles under the weight of US sanctions.

Iranian authorities have also barred thousands of parliamentary candidates from running, mainly reformists and moderates.