France condemns Iran for nuclear steps but says dialogue channels ‘still open’
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France condemns Iran for nuclear steps but says dialogue channels ‘still open’

Paris criticizes Tehran for announcing new enrichment enhancement, saying it ‘must give up’ such actions to save nuclear deal

French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian attends a French president's press conference in Biarritz, southwest France on August 26, 2019, on the third day of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)
French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian attends a French president's press conference in Biarritz, southwest France on August 26, 2019, on the third day of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)

PARIS, France — France on Sunday urged Iran to halt its moves to downgrade a landmark nuclear pact, saying channels for dialogue were still open.

“The channels for dialogue are still open, including today… (but) Iran must give up such actions,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said a day after Tehran announced it had started new centrifuges which would allow it to enrich uranium to higher levels.

That decision, plus two earlier moves to step back from commitments set in the 2015 nuclear accord, comes despite European efforts spearheaded by Paris to get Tehran to continue to respect the pact which US President Donald Trump withdrew from last year.

Le Drian, speaking on the Le Grand Rendez-vous Europe1/CNEWS/Les Echos program, noted that it was the United States that had first undermined the agreement.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani speaks at parliament in the capital Tehran on September 3, 2019. (ATTA KENARE / AFP)

“The accords… were signed by a certain number of countries, among them the United States, which has said it is no longer bound by the provisions,” he said.

Washington had then imposed more tough sanctions on Iran, to the point that Tehran was seeing no gain in sticking to the agreement, he said.

The outcome was no good for anyone, however, with Iran “making a bad response to a bad decision by the Americans,” he said, adding that this led only to escalation.

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