Thu, 08 Dec 2022

French President Emmanuel Macron is to meet his Iranian counterpart at the UN General Assembly in New York, as Paris warns the Tehran regime that it will not get a better opportunity to revive a disputed nuclear accord.

The Elysee Palace said Macron will meet President Ebrahim Raisi on Tuesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. The French leader will meet US President Joe Biden the following day.

"We'll see what this week brings," French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told reporters on Monday. "The window of opportunity seems about to close again.

"We are repeatedly saying ... there is no better offer for Iran," she said. "It's up to them to make a decision."

Raisi, in an interview with CBS News' "60 Minutes," said he was open to a "good" deal but pressed for guarantees from Biden that the United States will not again leave the accord under a future leader, a promise that the US administration considers impossible.

Trump pulls out

Former president Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 deal under which Iran drastically scaled back nuclear work in return for promises of sanctions relief.

The Biden administration says the deal remains the best way to restrict Iran's nuclear program but has been increasingly pessimistic that Tehran will agree to a compromise negotiated by European Union mediators.

Separately, France's Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna on Monday urged Iran to take the offer on the table to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, saying the window of opportunity "is about to close."

Colonna said Iran raised issues linked to its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), considered the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament.

She gave no details. But under the treaty's provisions, the five original nuclear powers, the United States, China, Russia (then the Soviet Union), Britain and France, agreed to negotiate toward eliminating their arsenals one day. Nations without nuclear weapons promised not to acquire them in exchange for a guarantee to be able to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Colonna also had meetings with her counterparts from China, India and Australia. Relations between Canberra and Paris were badly strained last year when Australia canceled a major submarine deal in favor of US nuclear models.

Emmanuel Macron will meet leaders including Britain's new Prime Minister Liz Truss, Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Lebanon's Najib Mikati.

(With agencies)

Originally published on RFI

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