U.S., Europe Urges Iran to Comply With Nuke Deal to 'Avoid Dangerous Escalation'

Reuters
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U.S. President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson prior to a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit
U.S. President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson prior to a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summitCredit: Evan Vucci/AP
Reuters

The United States, Germany, France and Britain implored Iran on Saturday to resume compliance with a 2015 nuclear deal in order to "avoid a dangerous escalation".

Leaders of the four countries, who are hoping to convince Tehran to stop enriching uranium to near-weapons-grade levels, said they wanted a negotiated solution.

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"This will only be possible if Iran changes course," U.S. President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a joint statement.

"We call upon President Raisi to seize this opportunity and return to a good faith effort to conclude our negotiations as a matter of urgency. That is the only sure way to avoid a dangerous escalation, which is not in any country's interest," they said after meeting on the sidelines of a G20 summit.

Merkel said that she and other leaders were concerned about Iran's uranium enrichment and called for a return to the negotiating table for a nuclear deal. 

"We are counting on a return of Iran to the negotiating table. But the clock is ticking. Uranium enrichment is occurring in Iran and this deeply concerns us," she said on the sidelines of the G20 meeting.

The 2015 nuclear deal unraveled after then-U.S. President Trump withdrew from it in 2018, prompting Iran to breach various limits on uranium enrichment.

Talks between Iran and world powers aimed at salvaging the deal, which started in April, are slated to resume at the end of November, the Islamic Republic's top nuclear negotiator said on Wednesday.

Asked as he went into Saturday's meeting when he wanted the Iran talks to resume, Biden said only: "They're scheduled to resume."
A senior U.S. administration official told reporters the meeting on Iran at the G20 gathering had been suggested by Merkel with the aim of giving leaders an opportunity to review the issues ahead of the resumption of the talks.

"Our conviction is that if the United States and Europe are united and the United States and the entire P5+1 pull together, the diplomatic solution is the best solution to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon," the official said, referring to the U.N. Security Council's five permanent members, plus Germany.

"And so they talked about (...) how we can effectively shape the environment to give diplomacy the best chance of succeeding in the fastest possible timeframe to put a lid back on Iran's nuclear program," the official added. 

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