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  • France’s top envoy holds key talks with Iran

    Published on July 11, 2019

    French President Emmanuel Macron’s top diplomatic adviser today held high-level talks in Tehran aimed at saving the 2015 nuclear deal and easing tensions between Iran and the United States.

    Emmanuel Bonne met Rear-Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his deputy Abbas Araghchi.

    The 2015 accord between Iran and world powers, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), promised sanctions relief, economic benefits and an end to international isolation in return for stringent curbs on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme. But, Tehran said it has lost patience with perceived inaction by European countries more than a year after President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the United States out of the agreement.

    Pointing to the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, he added that the Europeans must solve that problem. The European parties to the deal along with the EU’s diplomatic chief yesterday called on Tehran to reverse its breaches of the agreement.

    Bonne arrived in Tehran after Iran announced Monday it had surpassed 4.5 per cent uranium enrichment — above the 3.67 per cent limit under the accord, though still far below the 90 per cent necessary for military purposes.

    At the request of the US, the International Atomic Energy Agency was to hold a special meeting on Iran’s nuclear programme at its Vienna headquarters today.

    After Washington withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018, it reimposed stinging sanctions on Tehran, hitting the banking and oil sectors hard.

    As the Iranian economy went into free fall, Iran demanded that the other parties to the deal — especially France, Germany and Britain — deliver promised economic benefits and help it bypass the US sanctions.