EghtesadOnline: It is important for Iran and the United States to seize the opportunity for negotiation, despite a narrowing political space to prevent the risk of an uncontrolled escalation, a top French diplomat said.
Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads over the 2015 nuclear deal since US President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement last year and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Iranian economy.
Iran, in response, has been reducing its commitment in a gradual manner in view of the remaining signatories' failure to offer much relief.
To save the fraying accord and mask the European weakness in standing up to Trump and ensuring the deal’s economic benefits for Iran, Paris has been acting as a leading mediator, with French President Emmanuel Macron making regular contacts with his Iranian and American counterparts to convince them to sit for talks, Financial Tribune reported.
"The French president took initiatives to enable a de-escalation and define the parameters of an agreement with Donald Trump and [Iranian President] Hassan Rouhani," France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in an interview with Le Figaro, translated and republished by France Diplomatie.
Macron has proposed a four-point plan, based on which both sides are expected to make compromises to pave the way for negotiations.
According to the document, Tehran would agree to fully comply with its nuclear obligations and commitments once again and accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear activities as well as regional turmoil.
The US would also agree to lift all the sanctions reimposed since 2017 and make sure Iran would have full ability to export its oil and freely use its revenues.
Macron tried to arrange a meeting between the two presidents to discuss the plan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last month.
Although the two leaders had initially agreed on the initiative, they ended up not meeting after the Iranian president insisted that Trump first declare the removal of US sanctions which he refused to do.
Iran has also announced that the plan does not state Iran's stance correctly and needs further negotiations.
Asked whether Macron's initiative is dead, Le Drian said "these parameters still exist, even though the political space is narrowing".
The French diplomat warned that failure to engage in talks to settle the dispute would have undesirable consequences.
"Otherwise, pressure will mount as time goes by and the risk of an uncontrolled escalation will increase, when none of the players in the crisis, particularly the United States and Iran, says they want that," he said.