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Macron Tells Iranian President That Nuclear Negotiations Must Speed Up

French President Emmanuel Macron (left) and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (file photo)

French President Emmanuel Macron has told his Iranian counterpart that the 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran can be revived, but ongoing negotiations must speed up and Iran must return to its full obligations under the accord.

In a telephone call with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on January 29, Macron "reiterated his conviction that a diplomatic solution is possible and imperative, and stressed that any agreement will require clear and sufficient commitments from all the parties," Macron's office said on January 30.

Diplomats from Germany, France, and Britain, known collectively as the E3, together with Russia and China, have been meeting in the Austrian capital since last spring trying to bring Iran and the United States closer to a deal to restore the agreement that stalled when Washington withdrew in 2018 and restored punitive sanctions against Tehran.

Talks to return to the deal, under which Iran agreed to curbs on its controversial nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, are expected to resume next week.

Iran has rejected any deadlines imposed by the Western powers amid concerns that time for a deal is running out.

"Several months after the resumption of negotiations in Vienna, [Macron] insisted on the need to accelerate in order to quickly achieve tangible progress in this framework," the French president's office said.

The comments echoed those made this week by the European Union's Enrique Mora, who is coordinating the talks.

“Political decisions are needed now,” Mora wrote on Twitter on January 28.

The E3 said in a statement the same day that all sides know the talks are reaching “the final stage."

Key issues in negotiations remain the speed and scope of lifting sanctions on Tehran, including Iran’s demand for a U.S. guarantee it will not violate the agreement again.

The talks are also moving slowly over technical details about how and when to restore curbs on Iran’s atomic work, which has advanced significantly since the United States withdrew from the accord.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AP.
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