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France says Iran nuclear agreement ‘not dead’, Macron to contact Rouhani

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – France has stressed that the Iran nuclear deal is “not dead” despite US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the multilateral accord.

“This agreement is not dead,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio on Wednesday.

He also noted that French President Emmanuel Macron would speak to his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, later on Wednesday.

The contact would be followed by meetings next week, probably on Monday, involving the Iranians and European representatives from France, Britain and Germany, Le Drian added.

The top French diplomat further said that Paris was concerned about issues such as Iran’s missile program, but noted that they could be addressed without scrapping the nuclear deal.

“Yes, there is a real risk of confrontation,” he said. “I hope it will not be a setback for peace.”

Similarly, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire described Trump’s decision on Iran as a mistake, saying that Washington should not consider itself the world’s “economic policeman.”

Trump announced on Tuesday that the US was quitting the Iran nuclear agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The US president also said that he would reinstate nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

Trump’s decision sparked condemnation by Iran’s parliament, with speaker Ali Larijani calling it “a diplomatic show.”

Iran and the P5+1 group of countries signed the JCPOA in July 2015 and started implementing it in January 2016.

Trump, who took office one year after the JCPOA came into force, vowed to ditch the agreement, which was negotiated under his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Russia’s acting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ensured on Wednesday that Moscow would remain committed to the Iran nuclear deal.

China also expressed regret over Trump’s decision on the JCPOA and raised the risk of conflict in the Middle East.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China will safeguard the agreement, urging all relevant parties to assume a responsible attitude.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Washington would be the loser from Trump’s decision to leave the JCPOA.

State broadcaster TRT Haber quoted Erdogan as telling CNN that the US was not faithful to the deal it had reached.

Meanwhile, Berlin emphasized that it would try to keep the accord in place.

“We will try to keep alive this important agreement, which ensures the Middle East and the world as a whole are safer,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.

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