Iran offers to return to nuclear deal even if U.S. doesn't

In Rouhani's alternative plan, Tehran would still expect sanctions on its oil exports and international banking to be revised.

Hassan Rouhani (photo credit: STEPHANIE KEITH/REUTERS)
Hassan Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has told French President Emmanuel Macron that the Islamic republic is ready to return to its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal if the US dials back sanctions, even without returning to the JCPOA deal, Radio Farda reported on Thursday.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi conveyed the offer from Rouhani to Macron in Paris as an alternative to the "freeze-for-freeze" plan proposed by the French president. In Macron's plan, Iran would stop increasing its nuclear activities and the US would hold sanctions at the current level to allow for dialogue to resume, according to Politico.
In Rouhani's alternative plan, Iran would not demand that the US return to the JCPOA, but would expect sanctions on Iran's oil exports and international banking to be revised. In return, the Islamic republic would stop reducing its commitments to the nuclear deal, including exceeding the 3.67% uranium enrichment limit.
"If European countries stop wrong measures such as detaining an Iranian oil tanker at Gibraltar, they will see an appropriate response from Tehran," said Rouhani on Wednesday, referencing the seizure of the Iranian Grace 1 oil tanker.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed on Wednesday that the UK had sent a mediator to Iran to free the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker that was seized by IRGC forces last week. Britain denied the report.
In a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Rouhani said that Iran and other Gulf countries are in charge of maritime safety in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. "The Strait of Hormuz is no place for joking or playing with international regulations," said Rouhani.
"The world must be grateful to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps for securing the Persian Gulf," added the Iranian president.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced on Monday that the UK will also form a European-led maritime protection mission to support safe passage of both crew and cargo in the region. Discussions will be held later this week concerning how to best complement the plan with a recent US proposal for an international maritime coalition in the area.
The foreign secretary emphasized that the mission would be focused on “free navigation,” and would not be part of the “US maximum pressure policy on Iran,” as Britain is still committed to preserving the nuclear deal with Tehran.
“We have taken every available opportunity to reduce misunderstanding whilst standing by our rock-solid commitment to the international rule of law, which is the foundation of global peace and prosperity – but we must also react to the world around us as it is, and not how we would wish it to be,” said the foreign secretary in the House of Commons.