Iran supports European plan to bolster nuclear deal

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — President Hassan Rouhani said yesterday that Iran supports a plan by European countries to bolster a nuclear deal that Tehran reached with the West in 2015 and from which the United States (US) withdrew last year.

Rouhani said the plan included preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, securing its support for regional peace, lifting US sanctions and the immediate resumption of Iranian oil exports.

Speaking during a weekly Cabinet meeting, Rouhani said, “We agree with the general framework by the Europeans.” France, Britain and Germany had urged Tehran to enter talks about a new arrangement on the nuclear deal.

Rouhani’s comments come amid heightened tension between Tehran and Washington following US President Donald Trump’s decision over a year ago to unilaterally pull out of the nuclear deal with Iran. The US 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.

Rouhani said Iran has never been after nuclear weapons and whenever the rights of the Iranian nation are considered in plans and negotiations, “the road is not closed, and the road is again open”.

He said the plan could have been discussed during his New York visit last week to attend the UN General Assembly but that President Donald Trump scuppered chances by openly threatening to impose more sanctions.

Rouhani said Trump in a private message had told the Europeans he was ready but later told media he wanted to intensify sanctions. He expressed gratitude for efforts by President Macron regarding the plan.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. PHOTO: AP