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Iran Suggests New ‘Alternative’ Plan To De-escalate Tensions With U.S.

FILE - Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters on September 25, 2018, in New York.

Iran may be ready to start de-escalating tensions with the West without insisting on the United States returning to the 2015 nuclear deal, according to a new report.

President Hassan Rouhani has sent a message to French President Emmanuelle Macron suggesting an alternative to Macron’s “freeze for freeze” plan to tackle tensions between Tehran and Washington.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi is visiting Paris to convey Rouhani’s message to Macron, the conservative Iranian website Alef quoted "an informed source" as saying.

Based on Rouhani’s “alternative solution” Washington is no longer required by Iran to return to the JCPOA, but it is expected to revise the sanctions on Iran’s oil exports and international banking.

In return, Iran will stop reducing its commitments to the nuclear deal with the west, including exceeding the 3.67 percent Uranium Enrichment.

Meanwhile, Rouhani said on Wednesday July 24 that “If European countries stop wrong measures such as detaining an Iranian oil tanker at Gibraltar, they will see an appropriate response from Tehran.”

In another development, the chief of staff of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that the United Kingdom has sent a mediator to Iran to secure the release of a British-flagged oil tanker that was detained by Iranian forces last week.

The claim by the official linked to Khamenei’s office came on the same day Boris Johnson took office as Britain’s new Prime Minister. Johnson has previously declared that his position vis-à-vis Tehran will not be mild.

Rouhani also said during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday that Iran and other Persian Gulf littoral countries are in charge of protecting navigation safety in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf and that the security in the region is none of other countries’ business.

Referring to the detention of a British-flagged oil tanker, Rouhani said: “The Strait of Hormoz is no place for joking or playing with international regulations.”

He added that “the world must be grateful to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) for securing the Persian Gulf.”

Stressing that Iran is not after a military confrontation in the region, Rouhani said “Iran will not allow anyone to disrupt the order in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.”

Previously some of Iranian officials had said that the detainment of the British-flagged oil tanker was an act of retaliation against the British Royal Marine’s role in the detention of an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar.

Nevertheless, the Rouhani administration’s spokesperson told the press on Monday that Iran took a legal measure against the British, adding “what has been done was not retaliation.”

Meanwhile, Rouhani has said on Wednesday in response to a U.S. suggestion for holding talks that Iran is prepared for “fair and lawful” negotiations. However, he stressed that he will not sit at the negotiating table if this means surrender.

Washington has repeatedly called for negotiations with Iran while continuing to exert maximum pressure on Tehran to accept negotiations over its ballistic missile program and its regional ambitions as well as the 2015 nuclear deal.

Rouhani said that “Iran is not after starting a war, but at the same time, we will not surrender to force and arrogance.”

Previously, Iranian officials had dismissed any renewed negotiations over the country’s nuclear program and insisted that Washington should return to the nuclear deal it left in May 2018.”

Khamenei has ruled out talks with the United States as “poison” and called negotiating with the Trump administration “double poison.”