Speaking at a regular press briefing, Bahram Qassemi added previous proposals by Europe had failed to guarantee that Iran would continue to be able to sell its oil at desired levels and have access to the international financial market, Press TV reported.
"The past proposals were partially unworkable, or lacked the necessary guarantees; we put them aside," Qassemi said. "Alternative proposals were made; and we're looking for mechanisms that would enable [continued] economic cooperation between Iran and Europe [in the face of US restrictions]."
He expressed hope that the new proposals would go far enough in satisfying Iranian demands.
While the former US administration — with which Iran negotiated — largely adhered to its commitments under the Iran nuclear deal, the current administration of President Donald Trump chose to unilaterally stop implementing American obligations and ultimately withdrew from it on May 8.
The Trump administration also reintroduced the previous sanctions and imposed new ones on the Islamic Republic. It also introduced punitive measures — known as secondary sanctions — against third countries doing business with Iran.
Despite the American withdrawal, Iran stayed in the deal but stressed that the other parties to the agreement now had to work to offset the negative impacts of the US pullout for Iran if they wanted Tehran to continue to remain in it.
A first round of American sanctions — targeting Iranian access to the US dollar, metals trading, coal, industrial software, and auto sector — took effect in August.
A second round, forthcoming on November 4, will be targeting Iran’s oil sales and its Central Bank.
Europe has been taking a range of measures to meet the Iranian demand for practical guarantees.
But Iran has said Europe must act more swiftly.
Qassemi said technical contacts between the two sides were underway and were happening at a faster pace.
He hoped that a ministerial meeting would be held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly this year between Iran and the five other remaining parties to the deal "so that we can move on to newer stages."
"But of course, one has to be patient," he said.
The EU has activated a “Blocking Statute” to protect European businesses from the secondary US sanctions. Nevertheless, a number of European companies have been leaving the Iranian market for fear of US punishment.
On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the German news magazine Der Spiegel that it was time for the Europeans and the other parties to the deal to act.
The agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, was originally struck between Iran on the one side and the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China on the other.