Rouhani: Iran to stick to nuclear deal if interests are preserved

President Rouhani says Iran is ‘committed’ to non-proliferation as he tries to save nuclear deal after Trump withdrawal.

Rouhani in Switzerland
Rouhani said Iran is 'committed' to promises made in terms of non-proliferation [Denis Balibouse/Reuters]

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said he will respect the nuclear deal with world powers as long as the country’s interests are preserved. 

Speaking in Switzerland alongside President Alain Berset on Tuesday, Rouhani said Iran is “committed” to promises made in terms of non-proliferation. 

“After the JCPOA [nuclear deal] we showed very clearly that whatever promise we make, we stand by,” Rouhani said.

The Iranian leader is in Switzerland in hopes of saving the nuclear deal after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the international agreement in May. 

Berset said that Switzerland was also committed to upholding the deal, which he called “an unprecedented success for international diplomacy”. 

‘Zero’ oil exports

Rouhani also said the United States would never be able to “zero” Iran’s oil exports. 

On Monday, the US State Department spelled out a campaign of “maximum economic and diplomatic pressure” to drive Iran towards negotiating a “better” deal to replace the Iran nuclear deal. 

Brian Hook, the state department’s director of policy planning, told reporters that the US aimed to get as many countries as possible down to zero Iranian oil imports.

“Our goal is to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue on crude oil sales,” Hook said.

“We are working to minimise disruptions to the global market but we are confident there is sufficient global spare oil capacity.”

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman promised Trump at the weekend that he would raise oil production if needed and that the country has 2 million barrels per day of spare capacity to boost output, the White House said.

‘Desperate position’

Afshin Shahi, senior lecturer in Middle East politics at the University of Bradford, said Rouhani was in a “desperate position” to “seek any reassurance possible from anybody in Europe”. 

He added, “I’m afraid this exercise is not going to have any meaningful impact on the situation,” as European countries have already made clear they want to stick to the deal, but cannot force companies to stay in the Iranian market in the face of new US sanctions.

With domestic issues plaguing Rouhani simultaneously, Shahi said the president is “facing the worst moment in his political career”. 

Protesters clashed with security forces on Sunday over water shortages and pollution, while the country’s currency is in a downward spiral.

“There are some people who believe that he may not even be able to last until the end of the year,” Shahi said. 

After his visit to Zurich, Rouhani is expected in Austria on Friday to meet foreign ministers from the world powers who remain signatories. 

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies