“In the past few weeks, there have been serious negotiations” between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, as well as talks with other European nations, said Rabiei in a press conference on Monday.
“Fortunately, in many areas, our views have come closer together,” he added.
The comments come as an Iranian delegation, headed by Deputy Foreign Ministry for Political Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi, is currently in Paris to discuss Macron’s offer to save the JCPOA.
A team of experts from the Central Bank of Iran and the Oil Ministry is accompanying Araqchi in order to discuss ways to secure Iran’s oil exports and its ability to collect the revenues, which are a prerequisite for Iran to stop reducing its commitments under the 2015 accord.
Iran has given Europe until Thursday to meet its demands. Otherwise, the country will go ahead with the third phase of reducing its commitments under a deal, from which the US withdrew last year.
Iran’s ‘Strong Step’ Imminent
Rabiei also warned that the country will “take a strong step” away from the JCPOA if Europe cannot offer the country new terms by the Thursday deadline.
He described Iran’s strategy as “commitment for commitment”.
“Iran’s oil should be bought and its money should be accessible to return to Iran,” Rabiei said. “This is the agenda of our talks.”
In his Monday comments, Rabiei also suggested President Rouhani could still meet US counterpart Donald Trump if it served Iran’s interests.
Rouhani earlier played down the likelihood of a meeting, saying the Americans first needed to lift all sanctions against Iran.
However, the government spokesman hinted on Monday that such a meeting could still happen if it suited Iran’s interests.
“The president (Rouhani) still holds the same position that because of national interests, if he’s sure that meeting someone will help our people, he will not hold back,” Rabiei said.
“In my opinion, the US president’s goal for meeting Iran’s president is one thing and ours is another. The US president’s goal is more for domestic reasons, while we aim to return to what is our right and has been neglected.”
The situation has calmed down somewhat since, with Macron expressing hopes during a G7 summit in late August of organising a meeting between Rouhani and Trump.
Nevertheless, Rabiei has cautioned that “there is no reason for the president to meet an agitator and an economic terrorist in the current situation.”