Iran sees understanding with IAEA soon, France says reaching end of road to save deal

A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry told state-run Press TV on Tuesday he can anticipate reaching an understanding with the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA soon.

He added that ongoing discussions between the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami and IAEA’s director general “have led to progress and gaps over several issues of mutual interest have narrowed.”

Meanwhile, France’s ambassador to the United Nations said on Tuesday the door to resuscitate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal is open for now but “we are rapidly reaching the end of the road” to revive a pact that is being hollowed out by Iran’s nuclear advances.

“We are nearing the point where Iran’s escalation of its nuclear program will have completely hollowed out the JCPOA,” France’s Nicolas de Riviere told reporters.

“The diplomatic door is firmly open for Iran to a deal now. Iran has to choose between the collapse of the JCPOA and a fair and comprehensive deal… Iran’s continued nuclear escalation means that we are rapidly reaching the end of the road.”

“Iran has to choose between the collapse of the JCPOA and a fair and comprehensive deal…Iran’s continued nuclear escalation means that we are rapidly reaching the end of the road,” he said, flanked by the UN ambassadors from Britain and Germany, a group known as the E3.

He added: “Iran’s nuclear program has never been more advanced than it is today. This nuclear escalation is undermining international peace and security and the global non-proliferation system.”

Under the 2015 accord, Iran limited its nuclear program – which the West feared would be used to develop weapons, something Tehran denies – in return for relief from US, European Union and UN sanctions.

In 2018, then-US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal and reimposed US sanctions, prompting Iran to begin violating its nuclear restrictions about a year later.

Indirect talks to salvage the deal are now underway in Vienna between Iran and the US in which officials from the other nations shuttle between the two sides because Tehran rejects direct contact with US officials.

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