A French presidency official said on Tuesday that Iran must return to discussions with world powers over its 2015 nuclear deal to avoid a diplomatic escalation that could imperil the talks, according to Reuters.
Iran could not impose new requirements before returning to the Vienna negotiations, according to the French official, because the terms on the table were clear.
Indirect discussions between Iran and the US on restoring the agreement aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons halted in June, just before Ebrahim Raisi took office as Iran’s president last month.
Iran’s nuclear programme is progressing far beyond the boundaries set by the deal, which Washington abandoned in 2018. Western governments have urged Iran to return to negotiations, claiming that time is running out.
Nobody wants an escalation, but the French presidency official told reporters that in order to avoid one, Iran must return to the bargaining table.
Tehran has signalled in recent weeks that negotiations would resume in a few weeks without giving a specific date, increasing frustration among the Western parties – Britain, France, Germany and the United States – to the 2015 accord.
“The more that time passes, the harder it becomes to return to the negotiating table…and the key question of restoring a manageable and acceptable breakout time for us becomes complicated to resolve,” the French official said, referring to the time it takes to amass enough fissile material for a single nuclear weapon.
The French official said that world powers, including Russia and China, needed to remain united and that Beijing especially needed to “express itself and act in a more determined way”.