TEHRAN -- Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with the U.S. and other world powers had to lead to the removal of sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s economy.
In a phone call late Sunday, Raisi told Macron that Iran wasn’t interested in “negotiations for the sake of negotiations,” according to a statement published on the official president.ir website.
“We have no objection to useful negotiations, but the program and result of the negotiations should be the lifting of sanctions against Iran. Negotiation for negotiation is useless,” Raisi told Macron.
The negotiating sides have not yet given any indication of when the talks — on hold since Raisi’s election in June — are likely to resume. Raisi added in the statement that Iran wanted to develop trade ties with France and is prepared to start “comprehensive cooperation with Europe through France.”
In response, Macron expressed his hope in resuming the Vienna nuclear talks with Iran’s presence.
France is among the members of the P4+1 – China, Russia, the UK and Germany – that have been engaging in nuclear talks in Vienna in hopes of reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) following former U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the accord.
The U.S. withdrawal of the deal was followed by more sanctions on the Islamic Republic as well as heightened tensions between the two countries.
On Saturday, President Raisi said Iran was ready to hold talks to revive the JCPOA without western “pressure”.
World powers such as France and Germany had previously urged Tehran to return to negotiations following elections in June.
“The westerners and the Americans are after talks together with pressure…what kind of talks is that? I have already announced that we will have talks on our government’s agenda but not with … pressure,” Raisi told national television on Saturday.
Iran has long expressed its readiness to commit to talks and a reduction of its nuclear activities on the condition that the U.S. removes sanctions on the country and returns to the JCPOA.
“Talks are on the agenda … We are seeking goal-oriented negotiations … so unjust sanctions on the Iranian people are lifted … and their lives can flourish,” added Raisi.