Macron Says New Talks on Iran Nuclear Deal to Be 'Strict,' Should Include Saudis

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French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech near Paris, France, on January 21, 2021.
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech near Paris, France, on January 21, 2021.Credit: Yoan VALAT / POOL / AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron said any new negotiations on world powers' 2015 nuclear deal with Iran would be very "strict" and should include Saudi Arabia, Al Arabiya television reported on Friday.

It said Macron told a media briefing which included the Saudi-owned channel that a very short time remained to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon. Al Arabiya reported Macron's comments in Arabic.

The Islamic Republic began breaching the deal's limits on uranium enrichment activity in response to a U.S. withdrawal from the pact in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, who then reimposed sweeping economic sanctions on Tehran.

The new administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged to rejoin the deal, but only after Tehran resumes full compliance with its terms.

On Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran would not reverse an acceleration of its nuclear programme before Washington lifts sanctions.

Saudi Arabia and its ally the United Arab Emirates have said that Gulf Arab states should be involved in any talks this time which they say should also address Iran's ballistic missile programme and its support for proxies around the Middle East.

Macron stressed the need to avoid what he called the mistake of excluding other countries in the region when the 2015 deal was negotiated, according to Al Arabiya.

Saudi Arabia, which is locked in several proxy wars in the region with Tehran, including in Yemen, supported Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran.

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