Zarif in Paris to Receive Macron’s Offer to Preserve JCPOA Deal

  • Zarif, who was on a European trip to the Scandinavian countries on Thursday, told reporters in Norway that Hassan Rouhani had asked him to consult with Mr. Macron over proposed solutions to Paris.
  • Mr. Macron has not yet made clear what he is proposing to resolve the crisis, but after meeting with the Iranian side, he has the opportunity to meet with US President Donald Trump.
  • Earlier, Emmanuel Macron's mediation efforts on the Iranian issue had a negative response from Donald Trump.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has arrived in Paris to discuss the proposals by Emmanuel Macron to preserve the JCPOA deal, and is scheduled to meet with the French president today, Friday. The details of Mr. Macron’s proposal are not yet clear, but he said he has a strategy aimed at “reducing sanctions.”

Mr. Macron began a comprehensive effort to ease tensions between Iran and the United States a few months ago, as Iran’s scheduled withdrawal from its nuclear deal. Always a proponent of the JCPOA deal, he told reporters Wednesday that he will meet with Iranian officials before the G7 summit begins.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, is an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 countries and European Union. Under JCPOA, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years.

Zarif, who was on a European trip to the Scandinavian countries on Thursday, told reporters in Norway that Hassan Rouhani had asked him to consult with Mr. Macron over proposed solutions to Paris.

Mr. Macron has not yet made clear what he is proposing to resolve the crisis, but after meeting with the Iranian side, he has the opportunity to meet with US President Donald Trump.  The US president and leaders of six other countries are scheduled to meet in France for the G-7 leaders’ summit.

Earlier, Macron’s mediation efforts on the Iranian issue had a negative response from Donald Trump. Mr. Trump tweeted (about two weeks ago), saying no one in the US is negotiating with Iran. He said Macron’s motive was good, but he was sending misleading messages to Iran.

The remarks sparked a backlash from the Elysee Palace, and the French government insisted it would continue its diplomatic efforts to ease tensions. Mr. Macron said at the beginning of the summer that even if Iran violated the Treaty, it would not continue to be sanctioned by Europe.

He also made suggestions to resume talks with Tehran, which the Islamic Republic of Iran rejected. In mid-July, Mr. Macron’s diplomatic adviser traveled to Tehran to meet with a number of senior officials.

At the same time, the French president insisted that he told Rouhani in his talks that leaving Iran would be a mistake. He also said he would try to persuade Donald Trump to lift sanctions on Iran.

The Group of Seven is an association of the seven largest IMF-described advanced economies in the world: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Russia was temporarily suspended, then withdrew permanently, after annexing Crimea. The 45th G-7 summit will be held this weekend in France.

But as Macron failed in his efforts to ease tensions between the West and Iran, relations with the US president also struggled. The two are at odds over French-US trade relations. As Donald Trump wrote on Twitter at the beginning of August, France is apparently going to get tax from the big tech companies that the US president described as “macron stupidity“.

Now, despite no sign of a breakthrough in Paris-Washington relations, Emmanuel Macron still says he has a proposal to resolve the Iran-US problem. As Mr. Macron said Wednesday, his proposal to Iran is “to reduce the severity of sanctions aimed at reducing pressure on the Iranian people.”

As the French president told reporters, in addition to Tehran’s response to the proposal, Washington’s view is still unclear. The tensions between Iran and the US began when US President Donald Trump decided to violate his government’s commitment to a nuclear deal and withdrew tough sanctions against Iran.

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Joyce Davis

My history goes back to 2002 and I  worked as a reporter, interviewer, news editor, copy editor, managing editor, newsletter founder, almanac profiler, and news radio broadcaster.


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