Iran said Sunday it was willing to resume nuclear talks after international sanctions were lifted following a 2015 agreement that brought Tehran to the negotiating table.
“Iran is ready to resume negotiations about its nuclear program,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi told reporters at a conference in the Lebanese capital.
Qassemi said discussions would be held before the end of November. The deadline is Dec. 15, when the remaining U.S. sanctions on Iran are set to go into effect.
The measures are related to Tehran’s nuclear program and its ballistic missile development. At the same time, several major powers lifted sanctions related to Iran’s economy in return for Tehran’s commitment to limit its nuclear program and reject any development of a nuclear-armed missile.
But the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal in May and announced it would reimpose sanctions. President Donald Trump and his allies claim the agreement was flawed and that Iran is violating the spirit of the deal, although there is little evidence of that.
“We have every right to develop nuclear technology,” Qassemi said.
Tehran says it never worked to build a nuclear weapon, as the U.S. and other signatories claim.
Iran also promised its international community to ensure the country has the energy and technological resources to produce its self-reliant oil and gas.
The Iranian official didn’t directly address Trump’s accusation, but said Tehran had worked to ensure the Iranian economy is self-reliant and would continue that course.
The Iranian official blamed Israel and its U.S. backers for creating an atmosphere of insecurity in the region, and said the blockade against Qatar will have to be dealt with.
He also criticized Israel for a war against the Gaza Strip that was launched by Israel last week and claimed Iran was ready to fight a more intense war.
“If the Zionist regime (Israel) wants, we can consider retaliating in a much more violent way than we did during the Gaza war,” Qassemi said.
Associated Press writer Menna Zaki contributed to this report from Beirut.