July 6, 2019 8:59 pm

France’s Macron expressed ‘deep concern’ to Iran over weakening of nuclear deal

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a meeting with Edouard Fritch, President of the French Polynesia at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, Friday July 5, 2019.

(Regis Duvignau/Pool via AP)

French President Emmanuel Macron told his Iranian counterpart on Saturday that he was deeply concerned by any further weakening of the 2015 nuclear deal and warned that consequences would inevitably follow any such move.

Macron spoke to  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani a day before Iran is set to increase uranium enrichment purity above the limit set by Iran’s deal with world powers.

READ MORE: Iran ready for higher uranium enrichment: official

“The president recalled his deep concern in the face of the risk of a new weakening of the 2015 nuclear accord, and the consequences that would necessarily follow,” a statement from the French presidency said.

It was unclear exactly what consequences the statement was referring to.

Officials at Macron’s office did not respond to requests for clarification.

WATCH: Top aide says Iran will raise uranium enrichment level

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European diplomats have said that further breaches of the accord could see the European parties to the deal – France, Britain and Germany – trigger a dispute resolution mechanism within the accord that could eventually lead to the reimposition of United Nations sanctions.

Iran’s expected announcement comes at a time of sharply increased U.S.-Iranian confrontation, a year after Washington quit the pact and reimposed sanctions that had been lifted under the accord in exchange for Tehran’s curbing its nuclear work.

The Iranians have demanded that the Europeans do more to save the deal by ensuring Iran gains economic benefits, notably badly needed oil revenue, which the United States has in particular targeted.

READ MORE: Iran says no talks with U.S. until sanctions lifted and supreme leader approves

Keen to leave the door open for dialog, Macron said that despite the July 7 deadline, he had agreed with Rouhani to explore between now and July 15 conditions to “enable the resumption of dialog between all parties.”

The statement did not clarify why July 15 or elaborate further.

A readout from Rouhani’s side did not appear to suggest Iran was ready for such dialog unless all sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted.

“Lifting all sanctions against Iran can start new dynamics between Tehran and P5+1 countries,” Rouhani said, according to Iranian state television.

© 2019 Reuters

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