Macron Warns Rouhani of Consequences If Nuclear Deal Weakened

PARIS, July 6 (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron told his Iranian counterpart on Saturday that he was deeply concerned by any further weakening of the 2015 nuclear deal and warned that consequences would inevitably follow any such move.

Macron spoke to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani a day before Iran is set to increase uranium enrichment purity above the limit set by Iran‘s deal with world powers.

“The president recalled his deep concern in the face of the risk of a new weakening of the 2015 nuclear accord, and the consequences that would necessarily follow,” a statement from the French presidency said.

It was unclear exactly what consequences the statement was referring to.

Officials at Macron’s office did not respond to requests for clarification.

European diplomats have said that further breaches of the accord could see the European parties to the deal – France, Britain and Germany – trigger a dispute resolution mechanism within the accord that could eventually lead to the reimposition of United Nations sanctions.

Iran‘s expected announcement comes at a time of sharply increased U.S.-Iranian confrontation, a year after Washington quit the pact and reimposed sanctions that had been lifted under the accord in exchange for Tehran’s curbing its nuclear work.

The Iranians have demanded that the Europeans do more to save the deal by ensuring Iran gains economic benefits, notably badly needed oil revenue, which the United States has in particular targeted.

Keen to leave the door open for dialogue, Macron said that despite the July 7 deadline, he had agreed with Rouhani to explore between now and July 15 conditions to “enable the resumption of dialogue between all parties.”

The statement did not clarify why July 15 or elaborate further.

A readout from Rouhani’s side did not appear to suggest Iran was ready for such dialogue unless all sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted.

“Lifting all sanctions against Iran can start new dynamics between Tehran and P5+1 countries,” Rouhani said, according to Iranian state television.

(Reporting by John Irish Editing by Leslie Adler)