EghtesadOnline: During expert-level consultations in Paris on Monday, Iran and France agreed to intensify efforts for devising solutions to rescue the fraying 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
An Iranian delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi and including officials from the Central Bank of Iran and the oil and foreign ministries attended talks lasting over 10 hours, ISNA reported.
The two sides reviewed the details of “possible scenarios” to pursue the initiative developed by Iranian and French presidents to prevent JCPOA from total collapse.
The deal is on the verge of breakdown with the United States already out of it and Iran gradually scaling back its commitments, according to Financial Tribune.
Washington withdrew from the accord unilaterally last year and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.
With other parties, particularly the European Union, failing to make up for the economic damage, Iran is deprived of the deal's benefits.
It, therefore, initiated a reciprocal plan in May that involves exceeding part of the limits set in the agreement in a phased manner. Two stages have been carried out so far and the third is due on Friday.
France has been leading efforts to save the accord and deescalate the resulting tensions in the region.
French President Emmanuel Macron has had a series of phone calls with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the issue over the past months. He has proposed to prepare a compensation mechanism in return for Tehran's full compliance with the pact and Iran has offered its own modifications.
Iran’s Government Spokesman Ali Rabiei had earlier said Tehran's views have been converging with those of France on ways to save the deal.
"Fortunately, in many areas, our views have come closer together," he was quoted as saying by AFP.
The main topic of discussion during the Monday talks was how to meet Iran's demands and safeguard its interests under the agreement.
Tehran has demanded assurance for the sale of its oil, the country's main source of income, and the repatriation of its revenue as conditions for its return to full compliance with JCPOA.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the core of the present proposal is a $15 billion letter of credit that would allow Iran to receive hard currency, at a time when most of the cash it makes from selling oil is frozen in banks across the world.
Iran has said that it would take its third nuclear step if the current negotiations fail but could refrain from initiating this phase if the talks produce favorable results.
"By taking 'steps forward' and 'mutual understanding', the highly measured and smart diplomacy of #Iran, will overcome victoriously all the obstacles created by the enemies on the way of the great Iranian people," the Iranian Embassy in Paris later posted on its Twitter account.
A spokeswoman for the French Foreign Ministry said on Monday, "It was pretty much a technical discussion, and it went pretty well, on the whole", without furnishing details. She would not confirm either that the centerpiece of the negotiation was the $15 billion letter of credit.