Iran rejects new talks or parties in nuclear deal

Iranian foreign ministry says deal ‘unchangeable’ after French President Macron calls for talks to include Saudi Arabia.

Iran began breaching the deal's limits on uranium enrichment after the US withdrew from the pact in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump [File: Atta Kenare/AFP]

Iran’s foreign ministry has rejected any new negotiations or changes to the participants of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers, after French President Emmanuel Macron said any new talks should include Saudi Arabia.

“The nuclear accord is a multilateral international agreement ratified by UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which is non-negotiable and parties to it are clear and unchangeable,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh was quoted by state media as saying on Saturday.

Iran began breaching the deal’s limits on uranium enrichment activity after Washington withdrew from the pact in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump and reimposed economic sanctions on Tehran.

President Joe Biden’s new administration has said it will rejoin the deal but only after Tehran resumes full compliance with its terms.

But Iran has rejected US demands to reverse its acceleration of the nuclear programme before Washington lifts sanctions on Tehran.

Saudi Arabia and its ally the United Arab Emirates have said that Gulf Arab states should be involved this time in any talks, which they say should also address Iran’s ballistic missile programme and its support for proxies around the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia, which is locked in several proxy wars in the region with Tehran including in Yemen, supported Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.

Response to Macron

In his comments on Friday, cited by Al Arabiya television, Macron stressed the need to avoid what he called the mistake of excluding other countries in the region when the 2015 deal was negotiated and should include Saudi Arabia.

Macron said any new talks on the nuclear deal with Iran would be very “strict” and that a very short time remained to prevent Tehran from having a nuclear weapon.

Khatibzadeh said Macron should “show self-restraint”.

“If French officials are worried about their huge arms sales to Persian Gulf Arab states, they better reconsider their policies,” Khatibzadeh said.

“French arms, along with other Western weapons, not only cause the massacre of thousands of Yemenis, but are also the main cause of regional instability,” he added.

Earlier this month, Iran resumed enriching uranium to 20 percent at its underground Fordow nuclear plant – a level it achieved before the accord.

Iran’s parliament, dominated by hardliners, passed legislation last month that forces the government to harden its nuclear stance if US sanctions are not eased within two months.

Source: News Agencies