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Germany, France Urge Iran To Return To Nuclear Talks After Tehran Signals Delay


Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian: "We are not seeking to flee the negotiation table." (file photo)

France and Germany have called on Iran to immediately resume talks intended to revive the moribund nuclear deal with world powers, after Tehran said it could take another "two to three months" to get back to the negotiating table.

"We vehemently ask Iran to return to the negotiating table constructively and as soon as possible," a spokesperson for the German Foreign Ministry said at a briefing in Berlin on September 1. "We are ready to do so, but the time window won't be open indefinitely."

The same day, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian stressed the "importance and urgency of an immediate resumption of negotiations" during a telephone call with his recently appointed Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

The deal, under which Iran agreed to curbs on its controversial nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, was implemented in 2015 but was abandoned by the United States three years later.

At least six rounds of direct and indirect negotiations in Vienna to resume the accord stalled after a June election was won by hard-line Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

The German and French calls for Iran to return to the talks followed discouraging signals from the staunchly anti-Western Amir-Abdollahian on state television on August 31.

"We are not seeking to flee the negotiation table," Amir-Abdollahian said, adding that the government believes "a real negotiation is a negotiation that produces palpable results allowing the rights of the Iranian nation to be guaranteed."

Amir-Abdollahian said the Vienna talks are "one of the questions on the foreign policy and government agenda," but that "the other party knows full well that a process of two to three months is required for the new government to establish itself and to start making decisions."

In August, France, Germany, and fellow signatory Britain voiced grave concerns about reports that Iran had produced uranium enriched to 20 percent fissile purity, raising fears that Tehran might be pursuing nuclear weapons.

Iran has denied that it seeks to develop a nuclear weapon.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP
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