This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has said Iran supports a plan by European powers to bolster a nuclear deal, which the United States withdrew from last year.
Rohani said on October 2 that the plan put forward by French President Emmanuel Macron includes preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, securing its support for regional peace, lifting U.S. sanctions, and the immediate resumption of Iranian oil exports.
“We agree with the general framework by the Europeans,” he said.
France, Britain, and Germany — the European signatories of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers — had urged Tehran to enter talks about a new arrangement on the landmark 2015 accord.
Rohani’s comments come amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington following President Donald Trump’s decision last year to unilaterally pull the United States out of the deal.
The United States has imposed sanctions that have kept Iran from selling its oil abroad and have crippled its economy. Iran has since begun breaking terms of the deal under which it had curbed its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Washington has since reimposed and expanded sanctions on Iran, targeting its oil exports and crippling its economy, while Tehran has reduced some of its commitments under the accord, under which it had curbed its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Speaking during a weekly cabinet meeting in Tehran, Rohani said Iran has never been pursuing the goal of making nuclear weapons.
“The road is not closed, and the road is again open” whenever the rights of the Iranian nation are considered in plans and negotiations, he said.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told state television later on October 2 that even though a four-point plan put forward by Macron did not include Iran’s views, “it is necessary that negotiations continue in an accurate way. We will continue the communications.”
Without elaboration, Zarif said Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is applying efforts, too.
Separately, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran should take further steps to reduce compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.
“We will seriously and decisively pursue the reduction of our obligations, and with God’s help we will reach our goal,” Khamenei said at a meeting of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in Tehran.
The goal he referred to is to force the United States into reversing sanctions against Tehran and recommitting to the nuclear agreement.
The supreme leader has the last word on all strategic decisions made by Iran.