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Macron in last-ditch attempt to save Iran nuclear deal

Tensions between Iran and members of the UN security council were heightened after the US pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018.

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron
Image: Shutterstock/Frederic Legrand - COMEO

FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL Macron is consulting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a last-minute attempt to save the Iran nuclear deal. 

Macron told Rouhani of his “strong concern” over the risk of weakening the nuclear agreement and the consequences that would follow during a telephone call yesterday, according to a statement from the Elysee Palace.

The two leaders agreed to “explore by July 15 the conditions for a resumption of dialogue between all parties”, the statement said.

It added that Macron would consult with Iranian authorities and international partners to bring about the “necessary de-escalation” of the situation over the coming days.

Tensions between Iran and members of the UN security council were heightened after the US pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 under President Donald Trump’s watch. 

Iran now says it intends to breach the uranium enrichment cap outlined in the deal next Sunday, putting pressure on world leaders to step up and save the agreement, which was made in 2015.

Rouhani said the planned move is in response to a failure by remaining state signatories to keep their promise to help Iran work around biting sanctions reimposed by the US in the second half of last year.

A top advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hinted on Friday it could reach five percent.

The 2015 deal was reached between Iran and six world powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, the United States and Russia — and saw Tehran agree to drastically scale down its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

Washington began reimposing sanctions in August 2018 and has targeted crucial sectors including oil exports and the banking system, fuelling a deep recession.

The 3.67 percent enrichment limit set in the agreement is sufficient for power generation but far below the more than 90 percent level required for a nuclear warhead.

Rouhani stressed that Iran’s action would be reversed if the other parties provided relief from the US sanctions.

The Iranian president has insisted that his country’s policies are not meant to “hurt [the deal], but to preserve” it.

With reporting from AFP. © – AFP 2019

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