Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi held a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York to discuss the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
The meeting comes as a deal seems unlikely after the US has accused Tehran of not taking negotiations seriously. But Iran appears willing to talk and said it wouldn’t rule out holding JCPOA talks on the sidelines of the General Assembly.
Raisi conveyed to Macron that one of Iran’s concerns was over the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) inquiry into traces of uranium at undeclared nuclear sites. The Iranian leader said that the IAEA investigation has been subject to pressure from other countries.
“The agency’s approach towards technical issues must be away from pressures by others, and we believe that achieving an agreement will not be possible without closing Iran’s cases,” Raisi told Macron, according to Al Jazeera. “Europe must show in action that its policies are separate from those of the US and does not follow the wishes and policies of the US.”
The meeting came after the majority of the IAEA’s Board of Governors condemned Iran by endorsing a statement introduced by the US, Britain France, and Germany that criticized Tehran over the IAEA’s uranium inquiry.
Iran has submitted documents to the IAEA over the issue, but the nuclear watchdog is not satisfied with Tehran’s explanations. Iran believes the IAEA’s stance on the uranium traces is a result of Western pressure.
“Iran and the agency [IAEA] are able to resolve existing cases and we won’t exert political pressure on the agency on this issue,” Macron said at the meeting, according to Raisi’s website. Iranian officials also met with EU officials as the EU has been brokering talks between Iran and the US on the JCPOA.
Also on Tuesday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that the US doesn’t expect a breakthrough on the JCPOA to happen on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.