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Macron to meet Iran’s Raisi, urge him to agree to nuclear deal draft

French FM says Tehran won’t get ‘better offer’ to revive accord; US rejects Iranian demand for guarantee future presidents won’t leave deal

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a reception for France's prefects at the Elysee presidential Palace in Paris, September 15, 2022. ( Ludovic Marin, Pool via AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a reception for France's prefects at the Elysee presidential Palace in Paris, September 15, 2022. ( Ludovic Marin, Pool via AP)

UNITED NATIONS, United States — French President Emmanuel Macron will meet Tuesday with his Iranian counterpart as Paris warns the clerical state that it will not get a better proposal to revive a nuclear accord.

The Elysee Palace said Macron will meet President Ebrahim Raisi on Tuesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York and with US President Joe Biden the next day.

“We’ll see what this week brings,” French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told reporters earlier Monday. “The window of opportunity seems ready to close again.”

“We are repeatedly saying… there is no better offer for Iran,” she said. “It’s up to them to make a decision.”

Raisi, in an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” said he was open to a “good” deal but pressed for guarantees from Biden that the United States will not again leave the accord under a future leader — a promise that the US administration considers impossible.

Former US president Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 deal under which Iran drastically scaled back nuclear work in return for promises of sanctions relief.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi reviews an honor guard during his official departure ceremony as he leaves Tehran’s Mehrabad airport to New York to attend annual UN General Assembly meeting, September 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

The Biden administration says the deal remains the best way to restrict Iran’s nuclear program but has been increasingly pessimistic that Tehran will agree to a compromise negotiated by European Union mediators.

Separately, Colonna said she met Monday in New York with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

She said she urged him to allow a security zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, whose occupation by Moscow has raised mounting concerns.

Colonna also plans meetings with her counterparts from China, India and Australia, whose relationship with France was badly strained last year when it canceled a major submarine deal in favor of US nuclear models.

Macron for his part will meet leaders including Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss, flood-ravaged Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and crisis-wracked Lebanon’s Najib Mikati.

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