France says Iran ‘cannot avoid’ expanded talks on nuclear issue

VIENNA: Iran “cannot avoid” talks on thorny issues like its ballistic missile program and role in Middle East conflicts, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned Thursday, as France leads the work to rescue the beleaguered nuclear deal with Tehran.
“Iran must respect the fundamentals of the JCPOA (nuclear deal) and I think that is the case, but Iran cannot avoid discussions, negotiations on three other major subjects that worry us,” Le Drian said as he arrived for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Vienna.
France are among several countries, including Germany, UK, Russia and China, continuing to try and salvage the deal after US President Donald Trump decided to pull the US out unilaterally in May.
The comments came after a confidential quarterly report seen by AP released by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which shows Iran continues to comply with the nuclear deal even after the withdrawal of the US.
In the report, distributed to member states, the IAEA said Iran has stayed with key limitations set in the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.
The deal exchanges economic incentives for nuclear guarantees. Since the American withdrawal and re-imposition of sanctions, Iran’s economy has already started to struggle and its currency has plummeted in value.
The other five nations have affirmed their commitment to the deal, which limits Iran’s enrichment and stockpiling of material that could be applied to a nuclear weapons program. In exchange, Tehran was granted widespread relief from international trade, oil and banking sanctions.
The nations have said it will take time, however, to negotiate the details of the guarantees that Iran is looking for.
In the report, the IAEA said it had been given access to all sites in Iran that it needed to visit and that inspectors confirmed Iran has kept within limits of heavy water and low-enriched uranium stockpiles.

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