CAIRO - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that his country would abide by the 2015 nuclear deal if the United States and the five other signatories abided by their responsibilities in the accord as well.
Rouhani, speaking on the 42nd anniversary of the country's Islamic Revolution, essentially repeated remarks he made to foreign ambassadors on Tuesday.
Rouhani also insisted Tehran was on the verge of winning an economic conflict that was imposed on it by former U.S. President Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, Iran's spy chief, Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, said in an interview with Iranian TV on Tuesday that Tehran could produce nuclear weapons in self-defense, despite a 1990s religious edict by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei forbidding them.
He said that Khamenei considered production of nuclear weapons contrary to the tenets of the Islamic Republic, but that if Iran was pushed into a corner, it might be forced to build them and it would not be the country's fault for doing so.
Former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani Sadr told VOA that there were "some parties inside [Iran] that favor building nuclear weapons," but that the current standoff over the nuclear accord, in his eyes, was that Washington and Tehran each insisted that the other resume its obligations in the treaty first.
He said that both sides were acting like children in demanding that the other begin respecting the agreement first. Khamenei, he said, wants Washington to go first and lift all economic sanctions, and President Joe Biden wants Iran to stop nuclear enrichment first.
Dr. Paul Sullivan, a professor at National Defense University in Washington, told VOA that he thought "both sides are playing cat and mouse," but that there must be "some real hard negotiation," including "give and take" from both sides.
Sullivan argued that the world had changed since the accord was signed in 2015 and that the deal "should be negotiated from scratch," with "a new foundation" that irons out weaknesses in the original.
He said he thought a new deal must be tougher on ballistic missiles and nuclear enrichment and abolish time frames built into the original deal.
Bani Sadr, however, said he thought it was unlikely that Iran would renegotiate a nuclear deal before its upcoming presidential election, scheduled for June.