French President Emmanuel Macron urged Iran to stop exacerbating tensions with world powers by building up its nuclear capabilities and called on Tehran to act in a responsible way.
“Iran must stop aggravating a serious nuclear situation with an accumulation of violations of the Vienna accord,” Mr Macron said on Thursday, referring to the deal Iran signed to limit its nuclear strength.
“The security of the whole region is at stake. Iran must make the expected gestures and behave in a responsible way,” Mr Macron said, speaking alongside President Reuven Rivlin of Israel.
He said Paris would continue to work to revive a credible process to end the crisis.
“That means a return to control and supervision of the nuclear programme, but also to integrating – as we have called for since 2017 – the control of Iran’s ballistic missile activity.”
France, Germany and the UK have tried in vain to persuade Iran to return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal it signed with world powers.
But after former US president Donald Trump withdrew from the deal, officially known at the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and reimposed sanctions on Iran, the regime has repeatedly broken the rules of the accord.
Mr Trump’s successor Joe Biden is willing to remove the sanctions as long as Iran complies with the 2015 agreement – but Tehran demanded that sanctions be withdrawn first.
The three European powers are trying to bring the US and Iran to the negotiating table for informal talks in a first step towards reviving the deal, which lifted international sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs to its nuclear programme.
Mr Macron also suggested a new approach to Lebanon, where France helped to lead efforts to rescue the country from deep financial and political crisis, but to no avail.
“The time of the test of responsibility is coming to an end and there will be a need in the coming weeks, in a very clear manner, to change approach and the methods because we can’t leave the Lebanese people since last August in the situation in which they are,” he said.