In a televised speech Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said " we are ready to hold talks with America today," but wants to return to the Obama-era nuclear agreement and have the economic sanctions from President Donald Trump's administration lifted before that happens.
The sanctions have been a chief concern for Iran, as authorities have said they would be open to talks only after they could start exporting oil as they did before the US left the deal and triggered restrictions in 2018.
"We have always believed in talks," Rouhani said in his speech Sunday. "If they lift sanctions, end the imposed economic pressure and return to the deal, we are ready to hold talks with America today, right now and anywhere,"
Trump pulled the US out of the deal in 2018. Leaked cables from former British Ambassador to the US Kim Darroch read that Trump pulled out solely to spite former President Barack Obama and called it "diplomatic vandalism."
Trump responded to the cables, which also showed that Darroch called him inept and incompetent, by insulting Darroch, calling him stupid and pompous.
The tensions between Iran and the US have been increasing ever since Trump's presidential campaign, where he made criticizing the Iran nuclear deal one of his main pitches to voters. In the last year though, the two countries have crept closer to a possible armed conflict than ever before.
Iran shot down a US drone in June, which Trump warned was "a mistake," and has been aggressively policing the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. Iran nearly attacked a British oil tanker that would have caused billions in damages.
"Borders are our red lines and any enemy which violates them will not go back home and will be annihilated. The only way for enemies is to respect Iran's territorial integrity and national interests," Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was quoted as saying by Iran's Fars news agency after the drone was shut down.
Trump nearly authorized a military retaliation before pulling back, reportedly because he was concerned about civilian casualties.
Congress has since tried to reel Trump in, as the House of Representatives passed an amendment Friday that prohibits Trump to take any military action against Iran without Congressional approval, and 27 Republicans joined the Democrats in the majority.
However, the amendment is not expected to make it through the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans who shot down a similar amendment previously.