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Macron urges Iran’s Raisi to be ‘constructive’ in talks to save nuclear deal

French president speaks with his Iranian counterpart, calls for swift return to failing 2015 pact; Raisi presses Macron to see that US sanctions are soon lifted

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference at the Villa Madama in Rome while visiting Italy, November 26, 2021. (Domenico Stinellis/AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference at the Villa Madama in Rome while visiting Italy, November 26, 2021. (Domenico Stinellis/AP)

PARIS, France — French President Emmanuel Macron called on his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi to return to fulfilling Tehran’s obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal “without delay” as negotiators seek to revive the accord at talks in Vienna, his office said.

In telephone talks on Monday, Macron urged Raisi to engage in a “constructive manner” in the talks that resumed after a suspension of almost half a year, following the election of the hardliner to the Iranian presidency.

European powers are seeking to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that has been moribund since the United States walked out in 2018, prompting Tehran to ramp up nuclear activities as Washington reimposed sanctions.

France’s objective “was to see Iran return to full respect for all of its commitments under the JCPOA and that the United States return to the agreement,” the French presidency said.

Macron also “underscored the need for Iran to engage constructively in this direction so that the exchanges allow a swift return to the agreement,” it added.

“Iran must return without delay to compliance with all its commitments and obligations… and quickly resume cooperation that allows the (UN atomic) agency to fully carry out its mission,” it said.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi addresses the parliament during a vote of confidence session for the education minister, in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. Iran and world powers resume talks in Vienna this week of Nov. 28, aimed at restoring the nuclear deal that crumbled after the U.S. pulled out three years ago. There are major doubts over whether the deal can be reinstated after years of mounting distrust.(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

A statement from Raisi’s office added that he urged Macron “to strive with other parties in Vienna to conclude the negotiations and lift the sanctions against Iran.”

“Sending a full team to the talks shows Iran’s serious will in these talks,” Raisi said.

Referring to the United States, he added: “Those who have started to violate the nuclear deal must gain the confidence of the other party for the negotiations to proceed in a real and fruitful manner.”

The EU chair of the talks, Enrique Mora, said after the first session of discussions Monday that he felt “extremely positive,” though he acknowledged that “difficult issues” have yet to be tackled.

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