Speaking in a meeting with the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani noted, "The Islamic Republic of Iran is still ready to interact and cooperate with the European Union to settle issues”, according to the president’s official website.
"Whenever the other side lives up to its commitments completely, Iran is ready to return to its commitments,” he added.
The nuclear deal between Tehran and a group of world powers has been crumbling since US President Donald Trump withdrew from it in 2018, and Washington has since stepped up sanctions and a campaign of "maximum pressure" against Iran.
Since May 2019, Iran has progressively scaled back commitments in compliance with articles 26 and 36 of the agreement in response to the US sanctions and Europe's inability to circumvent them.
Rouhani also said that developing relations and cooperation with European countries, as long-standing partners, is always important to Iran, expressing hope that relations further deepen with the efforts of the new EU foreign policy chief.
Referring to the efforts that eventually led to the Iran deal over 12 years, the president said, "Unfortunately, the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the agreement created many obstacles and difficulties for other parties to fully implement it".
Rouhani stated that Iran's move to reduce its obligations under the nuclear agreement was within the framework of the deal, adding, “Whenever the other side lives up to its commitments completely, Iran is ready to return to its commitments”.
The president praised the joint efforts of Iran and the EU to resolve many regional and international issues, saying, "The Islamic Republic of Iran remains committed to the IAEA's monitoring, the process of which has been continuing to date and it will continue unless we face new conditions”.
For his part, Borrell referred to Iran's influential role in regional affairs and the development of peace, stability and security in the region, saying, "Developing cooperation with Iran has always been important for the EU”.
He also expressed regret at the EU failure to uphold the deal and noted that efforts have been made to expand implementing the deal.
Stating that today European countries are seeking to preserve the Iran deal and resolve issues to keep the deal in place, Borrell said, "As the EU's High Representative, I will do everything in my power to create a robust interaction for saving the JCPOA”.
Earlier in the day, the top European Union diplomat held talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
“The two sides exchanged views on various bilateral issues, including the nuclear deal, and on the most important regional and international developments,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Borrell's trip, his first to Iran since taking office, follows a spike in tensions between Washington and Tehran after the January 3 assassination of Iranian Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad.
Borrell's two-day mission aims "to de-escalate tensions and seek opportunities for political solutions to the current crisis," said the office of the EU's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.
The trip will allow Borrell "to convey the EU's strong commitment to preserve" the nuclear deal and to discuss cooperation between the EU and Iran, his office said.
Borrell said on January 24 that he had consulted the countries still in the deal – which include Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – and that all are determined to save the accord.
A joint commission that oversees the deal and comprises representatives of all the countries involved will meet in February, he said, without giving a precise date.
AFP contributed to this story.