Putin, Macron call for efforts to save Iran deal
Merkel: Every opportunity should be used for diplomacy
Lavrov: It is ‘a mistake to blame’ Iran
President Hassan Rouhani told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on the phone on Thursday that “Iran is determined to leave all doors open” to preserve its 2015 nuclear deal with major powers
Rouhani urged Europe to speed up efforts to salvage the landmark deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
"Europe must accelerate its efforts to realize Iran's legitimate interests and bring about a cease-fire (in America’s) economic war" against Iran, he said.
Rouhani told Macron that Iran and the European signatories to the JCPOA need to invest in efforts aimed at the implementation of “balanced steps” that could safeguard the deal because “there are some in the United States, who would not want the efforts seeking to save the JCPOA to succeed.”
He said that despite existing setbacks and sabotage activities, Tehran believed that the remaining signatories had to seize the time and task their experts with finding creative and appropriate approaches that save the agreement.
Rouhani also warned Macron that "missed opportunities" would force Iran to drop further commitments under the deal, after it withdrew from some limits on its nuclear activities in May.
Rouhani said bilateral transaction using a non-dollar trade system set up by Europe, including those transferring Iran’s oil revenues, are to be among the efforts that save the JCPOA.
He called the potential removal of the American sanctions another approach that would assist the deal’s survival and help in the restoration of the state of affairs to how it used to be prior to the illegal US moves.
Macron said France had a special focus on solving problems and preserving the JCPOA, adding that this requires the efforts of all parties.
Tehran’s May 8 announcement came exactly one year after Washington pulled out of the deal between world powers and the Islamic Republic, which says it has lost patience with inaction by remaining European partners to the accord.
Iran in May also threatened to take further measures unless the remaining parties to the deal – Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia – help it circumvent US sanctions, especially to sell its oil.
European parties to the deal have been trying to convince Iran to remain in the pact by promising to shield its economic interests from US sanctions that were reimposed since last year when US President Donald Trump exited the deal.
Tehran has since exceeded limits the deal had set on its enriched uranium and heavy water stockpiles, as well as passing a cap the deal had imposed on its uranium enrichment.
Iran has yet to specify what further steps it may take, and has repeatedly emphasized that its actions can be reversed if European partners deliver on their own commitments.
Efforts need to be “consolidated”
Also on Thursday, Macron had a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The two presidents agreed the need to "consolidate efforts" to save the JCPOA following months of soaring tensions, the Kremlin said.
Putin and Macron agreed that the Iran deal was an "important factor in ensuring security in the Middle East and maintaining a non-proliferation regime," the Kremlin said in a statement.
"Both sides stressed the advisability of consolidating efforts of all countries that are interested in preserving the comprehensive plan," it added.
Diplomatic efforts critical
German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised Macron's attempts to facilitate talks between Iran and the United States, saying diplomatic efforts are critical.
Merkel told reporters on Friday she was concerned about the situation in the Persian Gulf, adding that every opportunity for diplomatic contact should be used.
“Of course I’m concerned. You can’t look at this region without being concerned at the moment,” Merkel told a news conference. “Every opportunity for diplomatic contact should be attempted to avoid an escalation.”
But Merkel said “the fact that we are keeping to this agreement doesn’t mean that we don’t see a lot of what Iran is doing very critically, like the influence on Syria, the attitude to Israel, the influence in the Yemen war concerns us a lot, the ballistic missile program.”
She said that "outside the agreement, there is good reason for further talks with Iran about these activities."
It’s a ‘mistake to blame’ Iran
In Germany, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, "It would be a mistake to blame" Iran for the situation.
Lavrov urged Europe on Thursday to be clearer in its position on the Iran nuclear deal.
He said it was very important to reach “a common position of all the remaining parties of the JCPOA ... and we will not achieve a result if it is claimed that the safeguarding of this agreement depends solely on Iran.”
Lavrov also said Russia had growing concerns that the United States was backing away from nuclear arms control treaties.
His German counterpart Heiko Maas said, “We have always made it clear that we do not understand the exit of the United States from the JCPOA.”
Germany and the other countries that remain party to the JCPOA expect Iran to uphold its side of the accord, said Maas.
“Those of us who have remained in this agreement expect from Iran that it fulfills its obligations, we are trying to do this ... and we expect from Iran that it sticks to its commitments too,” he said.
“What we have heard from Tehran in recent days and weeks is unacceptable. A so-called ‘less for less’ will not work for us, and so that applies to Tehran too,” he told a joint news conference with Lavrov.
AFP, AP, Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.