President Hassan Rouhani on Monday described negotiations as “necessary” and “revolutionary” if they help Iran foil enemy plots.
Addressing university students in Tehran, Rouhani said Iranians are resisting the pressure exerted by the enemies, but “it doesn't mean that if we have a way to break the enemy’s conspiracy, we do not take that path.”
Rouhani said under such circumstances, “negotiation is a necessary and revolutionary task.”
He said his government is duty-bound to “use any means to resolve people’s problems.”
The president further pointed to the agreements Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) reached with the Jews and others during the early years of Islam. “We must consider our interests in any conditions,” said Rouhani.
Last week, he said Iran was willing to return to the negotiating table if the United States first dropped sanctions.
European countries have been pushing for talks with Iran to salvage a 2015 nuclear deal that has been unraveling since the United States withdrew and reimposed sanctions last year.
Rouhani has long demanded the lifting of US sanctions for Iran's return to talks under the auspices of the so-called P5+1 that reached the deal – the five veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.
"If they are prepared to put aside the sanctions, we are ready to talk and negotiate, even at the level of heads of the 5+1 countries," Rouhani said on Wednesday.
On Monday, he said the nuclear deal was neither “sacred” nor “damned”, but “an international agreement from which we should try to reap benefits.”
The landmark 2015 deal gave Iran relief from economic sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
The deal has been at risk of falling apart since US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it in May last year and reimposed sanctions.
Known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it was agreed between Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States, plus Germany.
Twelve months on from the US pullout, Iran began reducing its commitments to the deal, hoping to win concessions from those still party to the accord.
Its latest step back came last month, when engineers began feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into mothballed enrichment centrifuges at the underground Fordo plant south of Tehran.