Iran and Europe are bracing for US President Donald Trump's announcement on the nuclear accord later on Tuesday. Iran has sent mixed signals about how it will respond to a US exit from the deal.
Iran's president on Tuesday signaled Tehran would try to work with European powers despite a possible US exit from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.
Speaking at a petroleum expo in Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran wanted to keep "working with the world and constructive engagement with the world."
The comments were the first from a top Iranian official after US President Donald Trump announced he would reveal his decision later Tuesday on whether Washington would pull out of the nuclear accord despite Iran's compliance.
The Trump administration has threatened to "nix" the nuclear accord signed by France, Germany, the UK, the United States, China, Russia and Iran in 2015 unless European signatories agree to "fix" alleged flaws in the deal.
Iran has reiterated that the UN Security Council endorsed deal is non-negotiable, but has sent mixed signals about how it would respond if the US exits.
European powers have urged Trump to stick to the agreement while seeking to address US concerns over sunset clauses and Iran's ballistic missile program. French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly said on Tuesday: "This deal ... is a factor of peace and stabilisation in a very eruptive region." Speaking on RTL Radio, Parly said while the deal was not perfect, it had successfully suspended Iran's nuclear military program and Iranians had respected the agreement.
France, Germany and the UK have been scrambling to entice Iran to stay in the accord in the event of a US exit.
In his comments, Rouhani warned that a US withdrawal and reimposition of sanctions would create "some problems" in the next couple of months, but Iran would "pass through this."
A US exit from the deal would strike a blow to Iran's economy. Its currency has already hit record lows in recent weeks in anticipation of Trump's announcement and uncertainty.
An International Crisis Group report released this month suggested Europe should develop a plan B to keep Iran in the deal even if the US pulls out.
Such a contingency plan would include a European economic cooperation package to ensure Iran receives the benefits of sanctions relief as agreed to under the nuclear accord, even if the US exits.
cw/jm (AP, Reuters)