EghtesadOnline: Iran will continue its negotiations with the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal, but is pursuing plans based on the presumption that the talks will not produce the desired outcome, President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday.
"If they do not fulfill their commitments, we have multiple solutions … and we can defend our economy," he said, addressing a meeting of East Azarbaijan Province's Administrative Council, President.ir reported.
Since the United States pulled out of the nuclear deal last year and reimposed sanctions on Tehran, Iran has been engaged in extensive talks with the remaining signatories, mainly Europe, to receive some guarantees for its interests under the agreement, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Their efforts, however, have been fruitless so far in addressing Iran's core economic concerns, including its oil export and banking relations, according to Financial Tribune.
"Under the circumstances, we began a series of measures and told the world that if we cannot enjoy the benefits of this agreement, we will scale back our [nuclear] commitments step by step," Rouhani said.
Tehran began reducing its compliance with JCPOA obligations a year after the US pullout. It has stopped compliance with several commitments so far in two phases and has vowed to implement the next phase if no developments emerge.
"Reducing the commitments tells the world that we are not lacking options," Rouhani said, adding that the plan is being implemented alongside negotiations.
The standoff between Tehran and Washington has triggered tensions in the Middle East, forcing other countries to step in to prevent a potential war.
France has been leading mediation efforts with its president holding phone conversations with both Iranian and American presidents.
In a recent talk on Tuesday, Rouhani and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to work "first and foremost", in the coming weeks, on preserving all components of the 2015 agreement.
The president vowed to start the next stage of reducing compliance in the coming weeks, if Iran does not get a desirable result.
Rouhani, however, stressed that JCPOA is still of great political, legal and even economic importance to Iran.
"If this agreement survives until next year, all arms sanctions will be lifted … Within several years, restrictions on dual-use technology will also be lifted," he said.
Under JCPOA, the United Nations Security Council decides on a case-by-case basis to approve the supply of major conventional arms to Iran.
The deal's signatories must vet Iran's purchases of nuclear or dual-use equipment, but the restriction is to be lifted eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day, namely Oct. 18, 2023.
Iran has always denied any intention to build nuclear weapons, insisting that it needs the technology for peaceful energy and medical purposes.