France's Macron admonishes Iran amid slow progress on nuclear talks

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a joint statement with Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (not seen) before a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, March 17, 2021. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron accused Iran on Thursday of continuing to violate a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, and said Tehran should act responsibly.

France, along with Britain, Germany and the European Union, is trying to bring the United States and Iran to the table for informal talks that would be a first step to reviving the 2015 deal, which lifted international sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs to its nuclear programme.

Both sides so far appear unwilling to compromise. The Iranian New Year this week and campaigning for the country’s presidential election in June are also likely to complicate matters.

“Iran must stop aggravating a serious nuclear situation with an accumulation of violations of the Vienna accord,” Macron said alongside President Reuven Rivlin of Israel, an arch foe of Iran in the Middle East region.

“Iran must make the expected gestures and behave in a responsible way,” Macron added.

Macron said Paris would continue to work to revive a credible process to end this crisis.

“That means a return to control and supervision of the nuclear programme, but also to integrating - as we have called for since 2017 - the control of Iran’s ballistic missile activity,” he added.

Iran has ruled out broadening nuclear talks to other subjects. Since the United States quit the 2015 deal when Donald Trump was president, Iran has progressively reduced its compliance with the pact.

Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Alison Williams and Gareth Jones