French envoy visits Iran to try salvage nuclear deal
A French envoy was due in Tehran on Tuesday to boost European efforts to save the 2015 nuclear deal, after Iran warned Europe against retaliatory measures for breaching a uranium enrichment cap.
The accord between Tehran and world powers promised sanctions relief, economic benefits and an end to international isolation of the Islamic republic in return for stringent curbs on its nuclear programme.
But Tehran says it has lost patience with perceived inaction by European countries more than a year after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the landmark agreement.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), tasked with inspections, while Iran consistently lived up to its commitments under the deal until recently it is now in breach of two of them.
French President Emmanuel Macron sent his top diplomatic advisor to Tehran after Iran announced on Monday it had passed 4.5% uranium enrichment — above the 3.7% limit under the agreement.
Emmanuel Bonne is due to visit until Wednesday but details of his schedule were unclear.
Bonne is “to piece together a deescalation” strategy, the French presidency’s office said.
The 2015 deal had been described as a triumph of diplomacy against unilateralism and a major step to counter proliferation.
But after the US withdrew in May 2018 and reimposed stinging sanctions on Iran, especially on its banking and oil sectors, the future of the accord became uncertain.
As the Iranian economy went into free-fall, Tehran demanded that the other parties to the deal, especially France, Germany and Britain, deliver the promised economic benefits and help it bypass US sanctions.