Iranians need to make gestures for revival of nuclear deal

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By John Irish

PARIS, Jan 26 (Reuters) – Iran must end its provocations and return to the terms of a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers if it expects the United States to rejoin the accord, but even then a broader negotiation would be needed, a French presidential official said on Tuesday.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of Iran’s nuclear pact (JCPOA) with Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia in 2018 and reimposed U.S. sanctions that had been lifted under it, prompting Tehran to violate its conditions.

President Joe Biden, who took office last week, has said the United States will rejoin the pact if Tehran resumes strict compliance.

“If they are serious about negotiations and if they want to obtain a re-engagement of all the stakeholders in the JCPOA, they firstly need to refrain from further provocations and secondly respect what they no longer respect, that’s to say their obligations,” the presidency official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

He was speaking before Iran threatened to block short-notice inspections of its nuclear facilities by the United Nations atomic agency.

President Emmanuel Macron held talks this weekend with Biden on a range of issues, including on how to kick start negotiations with Iran as it continues to breach the accord.

Antony Blinken, Biden’s choice for secretary of state, said last week that Washington did not face a quick decision on whether to rejoin the deal and would want to see Iran was making good on resuming compliance with the pact first.

Iran has repeatedly said it can quickly reverse its violations of the deal if U.S. sanctions are removed first.

The official did not give a sequencing on how the lifting of sanctions during a return to compliance would work, but said that the French and U.S. administrations were clear on what needed to be done and how.

“We will have to … see how the return of the United States to the JCPOA is paid for with verifiable gestures on the part of the Iranians,” said the official.

He added that the issues with Iran went beyond the nuclear deal and that a broader negotiation on its regional activities would need to take place. (Reporting by John Irish, Editing by William Maclean)

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