News ID: 257703
Published: 0217 GMT August 23, 2019

Zarif: Nuclear talks with Macron ‘productive’

Zarif: Nuclear talks with Macron ‘productive’

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said talks he held on Friday with French President Emmanuel Macron about a landmark 2015 nuclear deal were “productive.”

“France had presented some suggestions and we presented some suggestions about how to carry out (the nuclear deal) and the steps that both sides needed to take,” Zarif said.

“The talks were good and productive; of course, it depends on how the European Union can carry out the commitments within (the nuclear deal) and also the commitments that they made after (the nuclear deal) and America’s exit.”

The top diplomat said it is not possible to renegotiate the nuclear deal but noted Iran is always ready to talk on saving the accord.

The meeting came ahead of a G7 summit, where Macron will attempt to soothe tensions between Tehran and Washington at what risks being a stormy summit.

“We’re at a critical moment,” Macron warned on Wednesday, saying that Iran is “laying out a strategy for exiting the JCPOA,” the name of the 2015 nuclear accord.

He admitted this week that there were “true disagreements” over Iran within the G7 club of the world’s biggest economies, which are meeting in France this weekend.

But Macron had pledged to “try to propose things” in the talks at the Elysee Palace.

France has stepped up its outreach to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, with Macron twice dispatching his diplomatic advisor Emmanuel Bonne to Tehran in recent months.

“President Rouhani instructed me to go and meet with President Macron (to see) whether we can finalize some of these proposals in order to be able to have everybody comply with their obligations under the JCPOA,” Zarif said in Norway on Thursday.

“It’s an opportunity to review the proposal by President Macron and to present the views of President Rouhani and see if we can find more common ground. We already have some common ground.”

The nuclear deal was undermined after US President Donald Trump pulled the US out unilaterally in May 2018 and reimposed economic sanctions.

The European signatories to the landmark 2015 deal vowed to find a workaround to keep it alive, and have urged Tehran to respect the deal nonetheless.

But in July, Iran announced that its nuclear program would no longer be bound by some of the deal’s key restrictions.

“They can be reversed as soon as Europe comes into compliance with its own obligations under the JCPOA,” Zarif said on Thursday.

Macron’s diplomacy is a delicate task, with France seeking a rollback on some of the US measures imposed on Iran as part of Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy toward the Islamic Republic.

French diplomats have raised the idea of US waivers on sanctions affecting Iranian oil exports to India and China, or a new credit line for Tehran that could help the struggling economy.

That prompted Trump to accuse Macron of sending Tehran “mixed signals” in his attempt to broker fresh talks between the longtime adversaries.

But Trump appears to be the outlier among America’s G7 partners on Iran, despite speculation that Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who claims a close personal rapport with the US president, might be more amenable to endorsing his stance.

Reuters and AFP contributed to this story.



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