Thursday, October 14, 2021

France: EU coordinator's visit vital for Iran nuclear deal

France said on Wednesday that a pending visit to Tehran by the European Union’s coordinator for talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal is vital to its future.

“Through its statements and actions on the ground, the new Iranian administration of President (Ebrahim) Raisi raises doubts about its intention to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA),” French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre told reporters in a daily online briefing, according to the Reuters news agency.

“While refusing to negotiate, Iran creates facts on the ground that further complicate the return to the JCPoA. It is therefore in a context of crisis and at a critical moment for the future of the nuclear agreement that this trip by...[Enrique] Mora to Tehran takes place,” she added.

The comments come a day after Iran announced that Mora, the EU’s political director, will visit Tehran on Thursday and hold talks with members of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team.

Legendre added that Tehran would need to be clear about its intentions should it come back to the talks.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal it signed with world powers in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018.

The previous Iranian government, headed by former President Hassan Rouhani, had been holding indirect talks with the Biden administration on a return to the agreement.

The negotiations were adjourned on June 20, two days after Ebrahim Raisi won Iran's presidential election, and no date has been set for a resumption of dialogue.

Iran's Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, last week said he expects negotiations on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to restart in Vienna soon.

"We are now finalizing consultations on this matter and will soon restore our negotiations in Vienna," he told reporters in Moscow after talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price later said in response, "We hope their definition of soon matches our definition of soon."