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Iran’s Raisi meets European leaders at UN amid nuclear blockade

Macron Raisi is reportedly offering new proposals, but a breakthrough still seems unlikely given the upcoming US midterm elections.

Tehran, Iran – Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his delegation have held meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders as the 2015 nuclear deal remains deadlocked.

Raisi, accompanied by Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and senior nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani, also met on Tuesday with European Council President Charles Michel and the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and his deputy Enrique Mora, who are serving as coordinators of the Nuclear talks act which began in April 2021.

Bagheri and Mora then held separate talks believed to have focused primarily on stalled efforts to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal the United States unilaterally abandoned in 2018 is officially known .

According to Raisi’s website, the Iranian president stressed to his French counterpart the urgent need for an agreement to be completed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) investigation into several Iranian nuclear sites revolving around unexplained nuclear particles.

“The agency’s approach to technical issues must be free from pressure from others, and we believe it will not be possible to reach an agreement without closing Iran’s cases,” Raisi told Macron.

Raisi also said: “Europe must show in action that its policies are separate from those of the US and do not follow US wishes and policies.”

Macron reportedly offered suggestions to move forward talks, which stalled again after Iran presented its latest written response to a European draft text earlier this month.

“Iran and the agency are capable of resolving existing cases and we will not put any political pressure on the agency on this matter,” the French president was quoted as saying on Raisi’s website.

Speaking to Michel, Raisi asked: “If security issues are not resolved, what guarantee is there that the three European countries will not again propose and pursue a resolution against the Islamic Republic of Iran the day after an agreement is reached?”

E3 – France, Germany and the UK – and the United States introduced a resolution in June censoring Iran, which led to Iran dismantling 28 of the agency’s cameras at its nuclear sites.

Western allies also issued a statement to the IAEA executive board last week condemning Iran’s lack of cooperation with the agency, which was backed by 56 countries, including two-thirds of the executive board.

Tuesday’s meetings come a day after France’s Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna urged Tehran to accept the offer on the table to restore the landmark deal, saying the window of opportunity “is about to close”.

Borrell had also said he saw little chance of progress at the UN General Assembly, fueling speculation that there would be no real progress at least until after next month’s upcoming US midterm elections.

Meanwhile, Israel remains the main opponent of the nuclear deal, with Mossad chief David Barnea saying earlier this month that even a restored JCPOA will not give Iran “immunity” from Israeli operations.

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