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France and Iran Presidents meet amid nuclear talks’ stalemate

September 20, 2022 at 4:59 pm

French President Emmanuel Macron holds a bilateral meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on the sidelines of the 77th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City on September 20, 2022 [LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images]

French President, Emmanuel Macron, held face-to-face talks with his Iranian counterpart, President Ebrahim Raisi, on Tuesday, with the French leader saying he hoped to be able to “discuss all subjects”.

The meeting is Raisi’s first head-to-head with a major Western leader since he was elected last year.

It comes amid a complete stalemate to revive the 2015 nuclear talks and, as protests grow in Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, who fell into a coma and died after her arrest in Tehran last week by the morality police for “unsuitable attire”.

France said, on Monday, that there would not be a better offer for Iran to revive a nuclear deal with world powers and it was up to Tehran to make a decision now. EU Foreign Policy Chief, Josep Borrell, who coordinates the talks, said he saw little chance of progress at the United Nations General Assembly.

Months of indirect talks between Iran and the United States have foundered over several issues, including Tehran’s insistence the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) close an investigation into uranium traces found at three undeclared sites before the pact is revived, and a US guarantee that Washington would not walk out of any nuclear agreement again.

READ: Western powers seek unity against Iran at IAEA but no resolution