BERLIN/PARIS, Sept 1 (Reuters) – France and Germany on Wednesday urged Iran to return rapidly to nuclear negotiations, after a break in talks following Iranian elections in June, with Paris demanding an “immediate” restart amid Western concerns over Tehran’s expanding atomic work.
France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told his newly-appointed Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian in a telephone call it was urgent for Tehran to return to the talks, Le Drian’s ministry said in a statement.
A sixth round of indirect talks between Tehran and Washington was adjourned in June after hardliner Ebrahim Raisi was elected Iran‘s president. Raisi took office on August 5.
Since April, Iran and six powers have tried to work out how Tehran and Washington can both return to compliance with the nuclear pact, which former U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions on Tehran.
“The minister underlined the importance and the urgency of an immediate resumption of negotiations,” the foreign ministry said after the conversation between
Le Drian repeated his concern with regard to all the nuclear activities carried out by Iran in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Iran has gradually violated limits in the agreement since Washington abandoned it in 2018.
The next round of talks has yet to be scheduled.
Two senior Iranian officials told Reuters in July Raisi planned to adopt “a harder line” in the talks.
Amirabdollahian said on Monday the talks might resume in “two to three months”, although it’s unclear whether that time frame began from now or when the new administration took over last month.
Germany earlier also raised pressure on Tehran asking it to resume talks “as soon as possible”
“We are ready to do so, but the time window won’t be open indefinitely,” a ministry spokesperson told a briefing.
Last month, France, Germany and Britain voiced grave concern about reports from the U.N. nuclear watchdog confirming Iran has produced uranium metal enriched up to 20% fissile purity for the first time and lifted production capacity of uranium enriched to 60%. Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons.
(Reporting by Alexander Ratz and John Irish, writing by Emma Thomasson and Parisa Hafezi, editing by Kirsti Knolle, William Maclean)