“We are sending signals to the Iranians so that we can have this return (to the nuclear deal), which would be the prelude to a broader discussion beyond the JCPOA (nuclear deal) on regional destabilization, but also the capacities of missiles from Iran, ”Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said during a hearing in the French Senate.
“Returning to the JCPOA is just the starting point,” he said.
He also revealed that efforts to restart nuclear talks with Iran were hampered by “tactical issues” and the internal situation in Iran ahead of the June presidential election.
France, along with Britain, Germany and the European Union, is trying to try to bring the United States and Iran to the table for informal talks. It would be a first step towards relaunching the 2015 agreement, which lifted international sanctions against Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.
So far, the two sides do not seem willing to compromise. The Iranian New Year this week and the presidential election campaign in Iran may also complicate matters.
“There is a tactical problem and also an internal problem in Iran, which is in a particular situation because we are quite close to the presidential election in June,” Le Drian told the French Senate.
He did not specify what the tactical problem was, but added that while there was a declared will to resume talks, tensions remained and there was an urgent need to move forward to calm the situation.
Iran has ruled out expanding nuclear negotiations to other topics. Since the United States abandoned the deal when Donald Trump was president, Tehran has gradually reduced its respect for the pact.
The United States also hinted at its desire to expand the discussion with Iran to include its ballistic missile development program and regional activities.
Tehran maintains a network of proxies in a number of Middle Eastern countries, including Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.