France warns Iran against ‘sham’ nuke negotiating stance


France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned Iran on Friday not to come to the next round of talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal with a “sham” negotiating stance, a day after Paris urged the board of the UN atomic watchdog to send Iran a tough message.

Tehran had earlier responded to Paris by saying the International Atomic Energy Agency, which verifies Tehran’s compliance with the 2015 deal with world powers limiting Tehran’s nuclear program, must be “free of any political conduct.”

The statements highlighted rising tension before the US, Iran and world powers resume indirect negotiations on reviving the deal on Nov. 29, five days after a meeting of the IAEA’s board of governors.

Western diplomats say time is running low to resurrect the pact, which then-US President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018, dismaying the other world powers involved — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

Six rounds of indirect talks were held between April and June. The negotiations were interrupted after the election of a new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who has said Iran will not back down in the talks.

Paris warned Tehran over what US and European diplomats view as unrealistic demands, including a call for all US and EU sanctions imposed since 2017 to be dropped. — Agencies

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