Iran’s president is suggesting the Islamic Republic could hold a public referendum over the country’s nuclear program amid tensions with the United States.

The state-run IRNA news agency reported Hassan Rouhani made the comment late on Saturday.

Rouhani says he previously suggested a referendum to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2004, when he was a senior nuclear negotiator.

Such a referendum could provide political cover for the Iranian government if it chooses to increase its enrichment of uranium, prohibited under the 2015 deal with world powers.

President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal last year. In recent weeks, tensions between the U.S. and Iran have risen over America deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the region over a still-unexplained threat it perceives from Tehran.