During a visit to the Iranian city of Rafsanjan, on November 11, 2019, President Hassan Rouhani said that it was in Iran's best interest to remain committed to the JCPOA so that the weapons embargo will be lifted in a year's time, in keeping with the agreement. This would enable Iran to import and export weapons. He said that Iran will take "the middle ground" and remain in the JCPOA but reduce its commitment to it. Rouhani's statements were aired on IRINN TV (Iran).
Hassan Rouhani: With the continuation of the JCPOA, we will accomplish a great political, security, and defensive goal next year. The goal is the following: For years, there has been an embargo on Iran's weapon purchases, in keeping with the U.N. resolution. In other words, we are not allowed to buy weapons from any other country. If a certain country wants to buy weapons from Iran, this is also forbidden. In other words, we cannot sell weapons. According to the [nuclear] deal and [UN Resolution] 2231, next year – if we keep the JCPOA – the weapons embargo on Iran will be lifted, and we will be able to easily buy the weapons we need and easily export to the world the weapons that we want to sell. This is one of the important implications of this agreement. True, we can pull out of the agreement today. No problem. But the fruit that will be ready for the picking next year will no longer be there. We can pull out of the agreement now, but the UNSC resolutions against Iran will return. We must consider our national interests. Now, that our interest is to remain in the agreement, if the others will not implement the agreement, must we do so unilaterally? No, this will also be a mistake. So, we have chosen the middle way: We keep the JCPOA, but at the same time, we gradually reduce our [commitment] to what we have agreed to.