French leader to meet Iran’s Raisi to urge revival of nuclear deal

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UNITED NATIONS – French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with his Iranian counterpart on Tuesday, as Paris warns Tehran that it will not receive a better proposal to resurrect a nuclear deal.

Macron will meet President Ebrahim Raisi on the fringes of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, and US President Joe Biden the following day, according to the Elysee Palace.

“We’ll see what this week brings,” French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said earlier Monday to reporters. “The window of opportunity appears to be closing again.”

“We’ve mentioned it before… there’s no better offer for Iran,” she remarked. “It is up to them to make a choice.”

In an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” Raisi said he was open to a “decent” deal but demanded guarantees from Biden that the US would not quit the agreement under a future leader – a commitment that the US government regards as unattainable.

Former President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 agreement in which Iran dramatically reduced its nuclear program in exchange for promises of sanctions relief.

The Biden administration maintains that the deal is still the best method to limit Iran’s nuclear program, but it is increasingly doubtful that Tehran will accept to a compromise brokered by European Union negotiators.

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

She said she persuaded him to enable a security zone surrounding Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor, which has been occupied by Moscow.

Colonna also intends to meet with colleagues from China, India, and Australia, whose relationship with France was strained last year when it canceled a large submarine agreement in favor of US nuclear models.

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

Earlier, France’s foreign minister pushed Iran to accept the last offer on the table in order to resurrect the 2015 nuclear agreement.

A senior European Union official predicted no progress on the problem this week at the annual meeting of world leaders.

Both officials stated that things were looking up until an Iranian response last month. Colonna stated that Iran voiced concerns about its duties under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which is regarded as the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament.

Source: AFP

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