France urges Iran to avoid nuclear escalation ahead of talks

France urges Iran to avoid nuclear escalation ahead of talks


The senior French diplomat met with his Iranian counterpart on Saturday and urged Iran to be “constructive” and avoid further nuclear escalation ahead of next week’s talks to try to salvage a global deal limiting the nuclear program Iranian.

The United States and Iran said on Friday they would begin indirect negotiations next week, one of the first signs of progress in efforts to bring the two countries back into compliance with the 2015 agreement. The president then Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018, and Iran has consistently violated its restrictions since then.

Diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and Iran will take part in EU-hosted talks in Vienna on Tuesday. Those six countries remained in the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which tied Iran to nuclear restrictions in return for relief from US and international sanctions.

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French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian met with Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif on Saturday to prepare for the talks.

“I have encouraged Iran to be constructive,” Le Drian said in a statement. “I called on Iran to refrain from any further violation of its current nuclear commitments that could threaten the move towards resuming talks.”

Iran insists it is not looking to build nuclear bombs.

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President Biden took office saying returning to the nuclear deal and putting Iran’s nuclear program back under international restrictions was a priority for his US administration. Iran wants the sanctions to be lifted first.

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