Macron “called on Iran to quickly resume negotiations in Vienna to reach a conclusion and put an end, without delay, to all nuclear activities that violate the agreement,” the French presidency said on August 9 after Macron s ‘is spoken by phone with Raisi, who took office last week.
According to the Iranian presidency website, Raisi said in an hour-long phone call that “in any negotiation, the rights of the Iranian people must be respected and the interests of our nation safeguarded”.
The nuclear deal was signed by Hassan Rouhani, the relatively moderate Iranian president who failed to re-run earlier this year after two terms.
The deal, parts of which also included the United States, Britain, Germany, Russia and China, set a relaxation of sanctions against Tehran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.
But US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed crippling financial sanctions.
Trump said at the time that Iran did not adhere to the spirit of the deal, accusing it of attempting to build nuclear weapons and supporting extremist activity in the region. Iran has denied the charges.
After Washington withdrew from the deal, Tehran responded by backing down the measures it had agreed to under the deal.
Negotiators have been meeting since April in Vienna to seek a way to bring both sides back into full compliance, with the final round taking place on June 20.
A senior European Union official said on August 7 that Iran was ready to resume talks as early as September, Western news agencies reported.
AFP and dpa said representatives of the country had given assurances in recent days that the Vienna talks would resume, according to the senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The official said EU negotiator on the issue, Enrique Mora, attended Raisi’s swearing-in ceremony in Tehran last week, speaking with the Iranian official appointed to lead the talks, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.
The EU official said Amir-Abdollahian was to be foreign minister in Raisi’s cabinet, but the decision has not yet been announced.
The Iranians have said they want to return to the negotiating table “as soon as possible – not just for talks but to reach an agreement.” They want success, ”said the EU official.
On August 5, the United States urged Iran to resume talks on relaunching the nuclear deal after Iran’s new president said he would seek a diplomatic way to end the sanctions.
“We urge Iran to resume negotiations soon,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a press conference. “For us, this is an urgent priority. “
Raisi, who is expected to consolidate the power of the ultraconservatives during his four-year tenure, called for the lifting of sanctions during his inauguration speech earlier on August 5.
The EU official told news agencies it was not clear whether the nuclear talks would remain the responsibility of Iran’s foreign ministry or be taken over by the country’s National Security Council or another body.
“The EU would like Iran to freeze nuclear activities,” the EU official said, but admitted that Moscow and Beijing did not support his language on this position.
To complicate matters, tensions have recently mounted between Iran and the West, notably with a drone attack last week on an Israel-linked tanker off Oman that killed a Briton and a Romanian on board. .
The G7 – the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – blamed the attack on Iran. Tehran denies the accusation.
By RFE / RL
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