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EghtesadOnline: Iranian and French presidents in a phone call on Tuesday agreed to work in the coming weeks on preserving all components of the 2015 nuclear deal.

"In conjunction with the permanent members of the [United Nations] Security Council and European and regional partners, it was agreed that counselors and ministers will work closely on these issues [finding ways to save the deal] in the coming days and weeks," a statement by French President Emmanuel Macron's office on details of the phone conversation read. 

During the conversation, which lasted more than an hour, President Hassan Rouhani appreciated the French president's initiative to resolve the issues related to the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 

"Iran always welcomes any initiative to find fair solutions and create constructive dialogue," he was quoted as saying by his website, Financial Tribune reported.

The United States withdrew from JCPOA last year and reimposed sanctions on Tehran, putting the deal at risk of collapse. 

As the remaining parties failed to guarantee Iran's benefits under the accord within a year of the US exit, it began a reciprocal plan to gradually scale down its JCPOA commitments. 

The standoff has triggered regional tensions that have escalated in recent months following several tanker attacks and drone incidents. 

France has been leading a campaign to address the issue and prevent further escalation. Along this line, Macron has had several conversations with Rouhani as well as with US President Donald Trump over the past months.  

Trump pulled out of the deal, arguing that a more comprehensive deal was needed to cover all areas of western concern, including Iran's nuclear activities beyond 2025, its missile program and regional policies. 

The European parties, on the other hand, maintain that JCPOA is a platform for further negotiations with Iran on those subjects. 

In the phone call, according to the Elysee statement, Macron reaffirmed that France will remain in the deal and strive to move forward on the other three topics. 

"He expressed his wish that the achievements of the 2015 negotiations be preserved and that discussions begin on another three vital topics: monitoring nuclear activities after 2025, Iran’s ballistic missile program and the main regional crises," he said.

 

 

Iranian Grievances 

Rouhani complained that Europe has not taken a serious measure to shield Iran against US measures, and that European companies left the country soon after the sanctions were enforced. 

"Iran's full compliance with JCPOA while the other side does not fulfill a minimum share of their commitments is not acceptable for the Iranian nation," he said.

Europe has devised a payment channel known as INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) to facilitate non-dollar trade and by circumventing US sanctions. 

It has begun its first transactions but has failed to meet Iran's core concerns yet.

"The normalization of Iran's oil and banking relations with other countries is the first step of the commitments expected by Tehran," the Iranian president stressed, adding that the allocation of a credit line is of great importance as a prelude.

Rouhani reiterated that Iran's moves would be immediately reversed as soon as its economic concerns are met, but warned that once more phases of the reciprocal plan are implemented, returning to the original state would be more difficult for both sides. 

 

JCPOA Iran Rouhani nuclear deal Phone Call Macron Endeavors Preserve