To resolve the deadlock over their 2015 nuclear deal, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi met with French President Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders. On Tuesday, Raisi sat down with EU President Charles Michel, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani, Josep Borrell, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, and Enrique Mora, the deputy. He coordinates the atomic negotiations that started in April 2021.
It is the first time Raisi has met a major Western leader since he was elected last year. French President Emmanuel Macron said he hoped to be able to “discuss all topics” during his face-to-face meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Ebrahim Raisi.#nucleartalks #IranianPresident pic.twitter.com/UX3yY6RAT5
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There followed separate talks between Bagheri and Mora, which are thought to be primarily focused on efforts to restore the 2015 nuclear Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which was unilaterally abandoned by the United States then-president Donald Trump in 2018. However, for any agreement to be reached, Raisi expressed a significant demand to his French counterpart, namely an investigation by the IAEA into several Iranian nuclear facilities involving unexplained atomic particles.
During his talk with Macron, Raisi emphasized that Iran’s cases must be closed, and the agency’s approach to technical issues must be independent of outside pressures. In addition, the Iranian leader stated, “Europe must demonstrate in practice that its policies are independent of those of the United States and do not reflect the U.S. wishes and policies.” Following Iran’s latest response to a European draft text earlier this month, Macron reportedly offered proposals to advance the dialog.
June Resolution to Denounce Iran
According to Raisi’s website, “Macron said that Iran and the agency can resolve previous cases and they will not exert political pressure on the agency.” However, while talking to Michel, Raisi asked, “If safeguards issues are unresolved, what assurance is there that the three European nations won’t again pursue a resolution against Iran the day after a deal?” The E3 countries, namely the United Kingdom, Germany and France, and the United States, imposed a censuring resolution on Iran in June that led to the removal of 28 nuclear agency cameras at the country’s sites.
Last week, 56 countries, including two-thirds of the board, read out a statement condemning Iran’s lack of cooperation with the IAEA. Earlier on Tuesday, France’s foreign minister, Catherine Colonna, urged Iran to accept the latest offer on the table to restore a landmark agreement, warning that the window of opportunity is closing rapidly.
Moreover, Borrell expressed little hope of any progress at the United Nations General Assembly, backing speculation that no real development will take place before next month’s midterm elections in the United States. As of this month, Israel remains the most vocal opponent of the nuclear deal, with Mossad chief David Barnea stating that even an expanded JCPOA will not allow Israeli operations in Iran to be unhindered.