French President Emmanuel Macron floated the idea of himself acting as a broker for talks between the US and Iran on Thursday. But Macron also repeated calls for a stricter nuclear deal and the inclusion of more countries in the negotiations, two ideas Iran has already rejected.
While Macron said he would be an “honest broker,” he laid out demands that are non-starters for talks with Iran. “I do believe we do need to finalize, indeed, a new negotiation with Iran.” Macron told the Atlantic Council think tank.
“We have to address ballistic missile issues, and we have to address the stability of the region, and this comprehensive agenda is to be negotiated now,” he said. The French president also said that he wants to find a way to involve “Israel and Saudi Arabia in these discussions.”
Macron’s comments come a day after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani dismissed the idea of changes to the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. “No clause of the JCPOA will change. Know this. And no one will be added to the JCPOA,” Rouhani said.
The Biden administration is demanding that Iran comes back into compliance with the commitments Tehran agreed to when the JCPOA was negotiated in 2015. But since the US is the party that violated the deal in 2018, Iran is calling on President Biden to act first by lifting sanctions.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif offered a way out of the impasse in an interview earlier this week. He said the EU could coordinate the actions needed to be taken by Iran and the US to revive the JCPOA, but this suggestion was dismissed by the Biden administration.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said there are “many steps” the US has to take before it can “entertain any sort of proposal” from Iran. He stressed the need to consult with allies before moving forward on Iran, a sign that Biden is in no hurry to lift the crippling economic sanctions the Trump administration left on Iran.
President Biden delivered a foreign policy speech on Thursday but made no mention of Iran.