Iran agrees to work with France to salvage nuclear deal

Iran agrees to work with France to salvage nuclear deal
Iran says it will work with France to save what is left of the nuclear deal.
3 min read
22 August, 2019
Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran wants to save the nuclear deal [Getty]

Iran said it will work on French proposals to rescue the international nuclear deal that it signed with world powers in 2015, but warned it would not tolerate interference in the Gulf by the United States, its foreign minister said on Thursday.

Speaking at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “There are proposals on the table, both from the French and the Iranian side, and we are going to work on those proposals tomorrow.”

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday proposed to either soften sanctions on Iran or provide a compensation mechanism “to enable the Iranian people to live better” in return for Tehran’s full commitment to its side of the nuclear deal.

This comes days after the US called for harsher sanctions on Iran.

The US urged the United Nations on Tuesday to extend an arms embargo on Tehran that is due to expire next year as part of the embattled Iran nuclear deal.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the UN Security Council that the clock was ticking on a resolution restricting weapons sales to Iran that is due to end in October 2020.

Pompeo warned that the expiration of provisions in Security Council Resolution 2231 would also see a travel ban on a key Iranian commander lifted.

"Time is drawing short to continue this activity of restricting Iran's capacity to foment its terror regime," he said. 

"The international community will have plenty of time to see how long it has until Iran is unshackled to create new turmoil, and figure out what it must do to prevent that from happening," Pompeo added.

The resolution was passed as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal which the US, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain agreed with Tehran in 2015.

The landmark deal was designed to curb Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief. 

President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the deal last year and reinstated economic sanctions, sending tensions between Washington and Tehran soaring.

When the resolution expires next year, travel restrictions on Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's Quds Force, which operates abroad, and 23 other Iranians will be lifted.

"We believe that the UNSC has an important role to play to ensure that the arms embargo and the travel ban are continued," Brian Hook, the US Special Representative for Iran told reporters in New York ahead of Pompeo's remarks.

Trump's administration is currently pursuing a "maximum pressure" campaign designed to force the Islamic republic to limit its nuclear programme and military activities.

Iran has responded by suspending some of its commitments under the nuclear deal.

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