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France’s Emmanuel Macron leads attempts to salvage Iran nuclear deal


France’s Emmanuel Macron leads attempts to salvage Iran nuclear deal

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Photo: Presidency of Iran

French President Emmanuel Macron will attempt to restore a dialogue between Iran and its western partners on the fate of the nuclear deal today.

In a statement released by President Macron’s press office, France would “explore between now and July 15 conditions for a new dialogue among all parties”. The statement did not elaborate on the substance of the dialogue.

Saving the deal will be an uphill battle. A number of recent incidents between the US and Iran have escalated tensions between the two countries. UN inspectors have also confirmed that Iran has violated the deal’s uranium stockpile limit, which limited the Islamic Republic to a maximum 300 kilograms of the substance.

The crushing impact of resumed US sanctions will incentivise Tehran—which will not bend for fear of looking weak—to continue to deliberately violate the agreement. US sanctions have targeted oil exports, the lifeline of the Iranian economy.

The US remains the key piece to any chance of an agreement working out. While the existing agreement will likely perish, a future new agreement may arise. Such a new agreement will depend on a number of factors, including whether or not Donald Trump is re-elected in 2020 and, if he is, whether or not he agrees to resume negotiations with Iran—certainly a possibility.

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Furthermore, a new deal will have to address US concerns that the original deal was too weak and Iranian concerns about sanctions. A potential quid pro quo could be stronger securities against US oil sanctions in exchange for more concrete Iranian promises for international inspections.

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