On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron said that any new nuclear negotiations with Iran would be “strict” and should include Saudi Arabia. His comments were first reported by Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya TV.
Macron said it was a mistake not to include other regional countries in talks when the JCPOA was first negotiated in 2015. The Saudis and other Gulf countries, like the UAE and Bahrain, are looking to be involved with the Biden administration’s Iran strategy and oppose the JCPOA as it is.
Earlier this week, a French official from Macron’s office said Iran must comply with the JCPOA before the US lifts sanctions. The Biden administration has since made clear this is the official US position.
While President Biden had previously said he would work with Iran to revive the JCPOA, pressure from allies like Israel, the Gulf states, and France will make it more difficult. Iran’s stance is that Biden must unconditionally lift sanctions for Iran to return to compliance. In order to do that, Biden would have to make a strong move against these US allies.
In a sign that all hope is not lost for the deal, President Biden appointed Rob Malley to be the US envoy to Iran. Malley was a key architect of the JCPOA and led negotiations to secure the deal. Reports say Malley spoke with European countries, including France, on moving forward with Iran.