This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
President Hassan Rohani said on August 6 that Tehran favors talks with the United States if it lifts sanctions against Tehran.
Tensions have risen between Iran and the West after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 landmark nuclear agreement which curbed Tehran’s atomic program in return for an easing of economic sanctions.
In remarks on state television, Rohani said that “peace with Iran is the mother of all peace” and “war with Iran is the mother of all wars” as he defended the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran favors talks and negotiations and, if the United States really wants to talk, before anything else it should lift all sanctions,” Rohani said.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps seized the British Stena Impero tanker near the Strait of Hormuz last month for alleged marine violations, two weeks after British forces captured an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar accused of violating sanctions on Syria.
“A strait for a strait. It can’t be that the Strait of Hormuz is free for you and the Strait of Gibraltar is not free for us,” Rohani said.
Approximately one-fifth of the world’s oil traffic passes through the strategic Strait of Hormuz that connects the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea.
On August 6, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif confirmed U.S. media reports that he had turned down an offer from a U.S. senator to meet Trump at the White House last month.
Zarif said that he had turned down the offer despite a threat of being hit with sanctions within two weeks.
“I was told in New York I would be sanctioned in two week unless I accepted that offer, which fortunately I did not,” he said.
Earlier, on August 5, Iran said it had increased its stockpile of heavy water beyond the 130-ton limit.
Behruz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, also said Tehran exceeded the maximum reserve of 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium.