France's Macron: Nuclear deal on table with Iran better than no deal

"I think that this accord if it's concluded in the terms presented today is useful and is better than no agreement," the French president said.

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 said on Friday the ball was in Iran's court to revive a nuclear deal with world powers, and that the offer on the table, even if it would not resolve all differences, was better than no offer at all.

Iran received Washington's response to an EU-drafted final offer for salvaging the 2015 deal, the foreign ministry in Tehran said on Wednesday, giving no firm indication of how close remaining gaps were to being narrowed.

After 16 months of indirect US-Iran talks, with EU officials shuttling between the sides, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on August 8 the bloc had laid down its "final text."

Iran responded last week with "additional views and considerations" while calling on the United States to show flexibility to resolve three remaining issues.

Macron speaks with IAEA chief Grossi

Macron held talks on Thursday with Rafael Grossi, head of the UN atomic watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), whose organization inspects Iran's nuclear program and investigates its possible past activities.

"We have been very careful to ensure the balance of a serious accord has been met," Macron told reporters during a visit to Algeria. "The ball is now in Iran's court."

 French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hand with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune at the presidential palace in Algiers, Algeria August 25, 2022 (credit: VIA REUTERS) French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hand with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune at the presidential palace in Algiers, Algeria August 25, 2022 (credit: VIA REUTERS)

He said Paris would back the IAEA to ensure outstanding issues were not impacted by political pressure.

Iran has sought for months to link the issue of an investigation into uranium traces to the talks on reviving the deal. The IAEA has always said they are separate.

"I think that this accord if it's concluded in the terms presented today is useful and is better than no agreement," Macron said.

Macron said the deal would not resolve everything, and that more engagement with Tehran was needed to discuss its "ballistic missile program, regional influence and multiple (acts of) destabilization."