Speaking on the phone with Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday night, Hassan Rouhani said Iran was committed to efforts in Europe and elsewhere to resuscitate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a deal signed on Iran’s nuclear program which began to unravel when the US pulled out of it in May last year.
Rouhani said that Iran reduced its commitments to the JCPOA to persuade the remaining European parties to the deal – France, Britain, Germany – to observe their own obligations so that Iran could enjoy the promised benefits, Press TV reported.
The deal put curbs on Iran’s nuclear work in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. But US President Donald Trump reinstated sanctions as he launched a campaign of “maximum pressure” against Iran following the withdrawal from the deal.
Rouhani said Iran was open to new proposals for finding a solution on the current situation of the JCPOA, adding that Iran views a restored interaction with the world on banking issues and oil exports as the “most fundamental” of its economic rights.
He touched upon a recent escalation in the Persian Gulf region where the United States is seeking to form a military coalition to allegedly police the Strait of Hormuz, saying the move was a clear provocation at a time when countries like Iran and France were doing their utmost to deescalate the situation.
“We insist on security and freedom of shipping in the region and in the Strait of Hormuz,” said Rouhani, adding, “Tens of ships are freely navigating (in the waterway) every day and Iranian forces are carrying out their supervisions based on the regulations.”
During the phone call, Macron reiterated France’s commitments to stand by the JCPOA and to try to find a solution that could both benefit Iran and be accepted by all sides to the deal.
Emphasizing the need for more cooperation between Paris and Tehran on various issues, Macron welcomed Rouhani’s proposal for formation of a panel of experts from Iran and France to find solutions for regional and international disputes.
Rouhani said the United States has “fully despaired of” bringing about regime change in Iran.
He said that all indications were that America had now realized it would not achieve the primary goal that it pursued in imposing “very tough and extensive” sanctions on Iran — namely regime change.
“[It is clear] from all the messages sent to us directly and indirectly, from all developments we see in the world of politics and in the region, that America has fully despaired of being able to change the Islamic Republic of Iran and break the Iranian people’s independence,” President Rouhani said.
“Today,” the Iranian president added, “American officials don’t see the slightest odds of being able to defeat the Islamic establishment [in Iran] and the Iranian people.”
Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton, known particularly for his hawkish stance on Iran, has on a number of occasions explicitly called for regime change in Iran.
Trump himself, though, has said he is not pursuing that goal.