Macron tells Iran's Raisi more effort needed in nuclear talks

Iran has rejected any deadline imposed by Western powers.

FRENCH PRESIDENT Emmanuel Macron speaks during a video conference with international partners to discuss humanitarian aid for financially-strapped Lebanon, in Paris on December 2. (photo credit: IAN LANGSDON/POOL VIA REUTERS)
FRENCH PRESIDENT Emmanuel Macron speaks during a video conference with international partners to discuss humanitarian aid for financially-strapped Lebanon, in Paris on December 2.
(photo credit: IAN LANGSDON/POOL VIA REUTERS)

French President Emmanuel Macron has told his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi that a deal lifting sanctions on Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear activities are still possible but talks need to accelerate, Macron's office said on Sunday.

France, Germany and Britain, known as E3, and the United States are trying to save the 2015 Vienna agreement with Iran but Western diplomats have said negotiations, which have been in their eighth round since December 27, were moving too slowly.

Iran has rejected any deadline imposed by Western powers.

"The President of the Republic reiterated his conviction that a diplomatic solution is possible and imperative, and stressed that any agreement will require clear and sufficient commitments from all the parties," the Elysee palace said in a statement after a telephone call with Raisi on Saturday.

"Several months after the resumption of negotiations in Vienna, he insisted on the need to accelerate in order to quickly achieve tangible progress in this framework," it added.

 Will Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi lead the breakout to military-grade uranium? (credit: REUTERS) Will Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi lead the breakout to military-grade uranium? (credit: REUTERS)

"He underlined the need for Iran to demonstrate a constructive approach and return to the full implementation of its obligations," it said.

Macron also asked for the immediate release of Franco-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, re-imprisoned in January, and French tourist Benjamin Briere, who was sentenced on Tuesday to eight years in prison on spying charges.