France eyes momentum at UN on Iran nuclear deal talks

File photo. French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian holds a joint press conference with Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto (not seen) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Budapest, Hungary, 10 September 2021. [EPA-EFE/Lajos Soos]

France’s top diplomat said Monday (20 September) that he hoped a meeting of foreign ministers in New York this week would build positive momentum towards kick-starting stalled talks over the Iran nuclear deal.

The foreign ministers of China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain are expected to meet to try to relaunch talks aimed at getting the United States back into the pact, Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

“We will without doubt have a meeting of the joint commission of the JCPOA, in all likelihood in the week”, he told reporters.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the agreement the United States, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain reached with Iran on Tehran’s nuclear program in 2015.

Former president Donald Trump pulled America out of the deal in 2018, reinstating sanctions on Iran that Washington had lifted as part of the agreement.

Since then, Tehran has also retreated from many of its commitments.

Trump’s successor Joe Biden has indicated he wants to return to the deal, but his administration has expressed impatience at the stalled talks.

Le Drian told reporters on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly high-level meeting that a resumption of talks had not occurred because of Iran, which elected a new president in June.

Iran nuclear deal still possible after hardliner's election, EU says

Iran and world powers can still clinch a deal to revive their 2015 nuclear accord after the election victory of a hardline Iranian president but time is running out, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Sunday (20 June).

“It is important to ensure that during this week we can try to engage a positive dynamic to resume the Vienna discussions on the return of Iran and the United States to the JCPOA,” he added.

Diplomats told AFP that the current plan is to meet on Wednesday afternoon, but that the timing is still to be confirmed.

Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief who will meet Tuesday with his Iranian counterpart to urge him to resume talks “as soon as possible,” ruled out a Wednesday meeting.

Iran’s new foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, is in New York this week.

He is due to hold bilateral talks with his German, Chinese, French, British and Russian counterparts. They are all parties to the Iran nuclear agreement.

No meeting is planned with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

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