Tactical issues and Iranian politics hamper resumption of nuclear talks, France says

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Tactical issues and Iranian politics hamper resumption of nuclear talks, France says


FILE PHOTO: French Minister of European and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks at a press conference in Paris, France, March 11, 2021. Ludovic Marin / Pool via REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that efforts to relaunch nuclear talks with Iran were being held up by “tactical issues” and the internal situation in Iran ahead of the June presidential election.

France, alongside Britain, Germany and the European Union, is working to engage the United States and Iran in informal discussions that would be a first step towards relaunching the 2015 agreement, which lifted international sanctions against Iran in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

So far, both sides seem unwilling 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”, declared the Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian during a hearing in 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.

“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, ”Le Said Drian. “The return to the JCPOA is just the starting point.”

Iran has ruled out expanding nuclear negotiations to other topics. Since the United States abandoned the deal when Donald Trump was president, Iran has gradually reduced its respect for the pact.

Reporting by John Irish; Edited by Kevin Liffey

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