France Urges US Congress to Respect Iran Agreement

France Urges US Congress to Respect Iran AgreementFrance Urges US Congress to Respect Iran Agreement

France on Saturday urged the US Congress not to rip up the Iran nuclear deal, after US President Donald Trump decertified Iran's compliance with the 2015 agreement.

"We strongly hope that congress, which is now responsible for a possible rupture, does not jeopardize the deal," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in an interview with AFP.

"If we denounce a deal that has been respected, it will set a dangerous precedent," particularly in the context of negotiations with North Korea, Le Drian said, echoing other signatories of the Iran deal, namely Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia.

On Friday, Trump ignored the advice of worried allies and kicked the fate of the landmark 2015 deal into the US Congress court, which he told to address its "many serious flaws".

Under the deal, a number of international sanctions against Tehran were lifted in return for Iranian curbs on its uranium enrichment. The Republican-controlled congress will now have to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran—a step that if taken would almost certainly doom the agreement.

"For us, the Vienna accord is a good accord, it limits nuclear proliferation and prevents Iran from acquiring atomic weapons. It is robust and coherent," said Le Drian. Iran denies western allegations of pursuing nuclear arms in the past, saying its program is only for peaceful purposes.

However, the top French diplomat left the door open to further talks on what happens after a deadline in 2025, when certain limits on Iran's uranium enrichment are set to expire. Washington would like to see the curbs extended in perpetuity.

"We can open preliminary discussions with Tehran on what happens after 2025. If the treaty is respected, Iran can fully exercise its rights under the non-proliferation treaty. If safeguards or inspections are required on this date, we will start discussing them. It is also a way to avoid breaches today. We are ready to consider these issues with the Americans," said Le Drian, who will visit Tehran in the coming weeks.

More generally, he said recent decisions by the US to withdraw from UNESCO and the Paris climate agreement as well as jeopardizing the Iran deal have undermined multilateralism. While the US and other signatories have not fulfilled their commitments enshrined in the nuclear deal toward Iran, it's farfetched to expect the latter to enter into post-2025 talks with deal-breakers.


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