Iranian President Hassan Rouhani demanded an end to US sanctions, declaring it was necessary for talks to continue.

In a speech broadcast on state TV Tuesday, Rouhani said that Tehran favored “talks and negotiations,” but that “the US should lift all sanctions first.”

Rouhani said that Iran must be allowed to export oil for talks to continue. He also praised Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was placed on the US sanctions list in July.

Watch video 01:39

Iran seizes another foreign oil tanker in Gulf

Tehran was ready to talk regardless of the US stance on the Iran nuclear deal, Rouhani added. “Whether they want to come into the JCPOA or not, it’s up to them,” he said.

In 2018, the US left the landmark deal , which had set limits on Iranian nuclear developments in exchange for an end to economic sanctions on Iran. US officials announced they would be escalating sanctions on Iran soon after.

Read moreOpinion: Iran’s calculated escalation in the Persian Gulf 

Fears of a conflict have escalated in recent weeks after Iran captured British tanker Stena Impero for allegedly violating marine standards. British forces had detained an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar two weeks earlier for reputedly violating international sanctions on Syria.

“A strait for a strait,” Rouhani said. “It can’t be that the Strait of Hormuz is free for you and the Strait of Gibraltar is not free for us.” 

The Iranian Foreign Ministry confirmed Monday that officials would not be attending a meeting with Donald Trump at the White House. 

jns/rt (AFP, Reuters)

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