Zarif: Nuclear Talks With France ‘Constructive’
EghtesadOnline: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday and held talks on salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal, which he described as "constructive".
Zarif told reporters after the meeting that the talks were in line with previous conversations between Macron and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, ISNA reported.
"France has offered a proposal and we had suggestions as well, all of which were about ways of implementing the JCPOA and steps that need to be taken by both sides to implement the deal," he said, using the formal name of the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
He was set to meet his counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, late Friday, according to Financial Tribune.
JCPOA has been at risk of breakdown since US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the internationally-brokered nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on the Iranian economy.
The move led to a brewing confrontation between the two arch-foes, prompting the European leaders to make efforts to tamp down the tense situation.
Tehran has responded with a series of moves, including retreating from some of its commitments to limit nuclear activity made under the agreement.
Macron had said on Wednesday that he would meet Iranian officials ahead of this weekend's G7 summit and make proposals aimed at de-escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran, Reuters reported.
With the accord on the brink of collapse, Macron said he wanted the G7 summit to yield a clearer strategy on how to avoid a further deterioration in the region.
Macron has offered to either soften sanctions on Iran or provide a compensation mechanism "to enable the Iranian people to live better" in return for full compliance with the pact.
Earlier, speaking at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs on Thursday, Zarif said he was looking forward to having a serious conversation with Macron in Paris.
"There are proposals on the table, both from the French and the Iranian side, and we are going to work on those proposals tomorrow," he said.
He, however, stressed that Iran would not tolerate US interference in the Persian Gulf.
Washington has proposed the creation of a security alliance in the strategic waterway to guard shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital gateway for global oil supplies.
The proposal was tabled after it blamed Iran for several attacks on merchant vessels in the Persian Gulf waters in recent months, a claim that Iran denies.
So far, Britain, Australia and Bahrain have joined the alliance.
"It's clear that America's intention of having military presence in the Persian Gulf is to counter Iran. The US should not expect us to stay silent when somebody comes to our waters and threatens us," Zarif said.
"We will not start a war in the Persian Gulf but will defend our country," he added.
The foreign minister had earlier paid a visit to Finland, Sweden and Norway as part of a Scandinavian tour.
The 45th summit of G7 (Group of Seven countries consisting Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States) is slated to be held on August 24–26 in Biarritz, France.