By Mehdi Sepahvand

French president sends adviser to Iran for talks

July 9, 2019

TEHRAN – French President Emmanuel Macron is sending his chief diplomatic adviser to Iran following Tehran’s decision to enrich uranium beyond the threshold of the 2015 nuclear accord, the Associated Press reported on Monday.

The Elysee Palace said on Monday that Emmanuel Bonne was returning on Tuesday to Tehran. He had made a day-long visit last month in a bid to deescalate tensions.

Europe is under pressure to try to salvage the accord between Iran and world powers after the U.S. withdrew from it last year and restored heavy sanctions.

Macron said over the weekend that he’s trying to find a way to resume dialogue between Iran and Western partners by July 15. He spoke on Saturday with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said Monday that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres encourages Iran to continue implementing all its nuclear commitments under the deal “as the participants continue to seek ways to overcome the considerable challenges the country faces.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency said its inspectors verified on Monday “that Iran is enriching uranium above 3.67%,” the limit allowed under the 2015 agreement.

Iran had announced the move in recent days in a bid to pressure European powers to shore up the nuclear accord following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement last year.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been calling on world powers to escalate pressure on Iran.

Netanyahu, a longtime opponent of the landmark accord that Trump abandoned, accused Iran on Monday of “trying to lash out to reduce the pressure.” 

Netanyahu says, “It's important to respond to these actions not by reducing the pressure, but by increasing the pressure.”

He urged Europe to back the Trump administration’s decision to impose crippling sanctions on Iran.

In recent weeks, Iran has openly breached limits set by the agreement as a way of pressuring European signatories to the deal to try and shore it up following the U.S. withdrawal last year.

Semi-official news agencies in Iran earlier reported that the country began enriching uranium on Monday to 4.5%.

In the meantime, China blamed the United States for the current situation over the Iran nuclear deal, saying “maximum pressure” from the Trump administration is the “root cause” of the crisis.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang described the comprehensive agreement as the only realistic and effective way to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue and ease tensions.

Geng called for a diplomatic solution, saying, “It has been proven that unilateral bullying has become a worsening tumor and is creating more problems and greater crises on a global scale.”

The U.S. has imposed heavy economic sanctions on Iran.
Germany said on Monday it was refraining from immediate measures against Iran, but would wait for the International Atomic Energy Agency's inspection report.

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Rainer Breul told reporters in Berlin as soon as the report is available, Germany will examine it and discuss with the others in the nuclear pact — Iran, Britain, France, China and Russia — how to proceed.

In Russia, a Kremlin spokesman said Russia was concerned about growing tensions between Tehran and the U.S. over Iran’s unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday the Kremlin had warned that Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the deal a year ago would entail negative consequences to global security. He called on all parties to use diplomacy to overcome the crisis.


SP/PA

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