UNITED NATIONS (AFP): French President Emmanuel Macron will meet Tuesday with his Iranian counterpart as Paris warns the Islamic Republic that it will not get a better proposal to revive a nuclear accord.
The Elysee Palace said Macron will meet President Ebrahim Raisi on Tuesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York and with US President Joe Biden the next day.
“We’ll see what this week brings,” French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told reporters earlier Monday. “The window of opportunity seems ready to close again.”
“We are repeatedly saying… there is no better offer for Iran,” she said. “It’s up to them to make a decision.”
Raisi, in an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” said he was open to a “good” deal but pressed for guarantees from Biden that the United States will not again leave the accord under a future leader — a promise that the US administration considers impossible.
Former president Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 deal under which Iran drastically scaled back nuclear work in return for promises of sanctions relief.
The Biden administration says the deal remains the best way to restrict Iran’s nuclear program but has been increasingly pessimistic that Tehran will agree to a compromise negotiated by European Union mediators.
Separately, Colonna said she met Monday in New York with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
She said she urged him to allow a security zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, whose occupation by Moscow has raised mounting concerns.
Colonna also plans meetings with her counterparts from China, India and Australia, whose relationship with France was badly strained last year when it canceled a major submarine deal in favor of US nuclear models.
Macron for his part will meet leaders including Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss, flood-ravaged Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and crisis-wracked Lebanon’s Najib Mikati.
Earlier, France’s foreign minister urged Iran to take the last offer on the table to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.
A high-ranking European Union official said he didn’t expect any progress on the issue this week at the annual gathering of world leaders.
Both officials said things looked promising last month, until an Iranian response. Colonna said Iran raised issues linked to its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, considered the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament.