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Putin, Macron discuss situation around Iran nuclear deal after US’ withdrawal — Kremlin

The presidents also discussed the developments in Syria

MOSCOW, July 18. /TASS/. The situation around the Iran nuclear deal after the United States’ withdrawal from it was among the topics Russian and French Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron discussed in a telephone conversation, the Kremlin press service said on Thursday.

"Both sides stressed that the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) is a major factor in ensuring security in the Middle East and maintaining the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The sides pointed to the expediency of consolidation of efforts of all the nations interested in keeping the JCPOA in place," the Kremlin said.

Apart from that, the presidents exchanged views on the situation in Syria and stressed "principal importance of political settlement and efforts to overcome the consequences of the armed conflict" in this Middle Eastern state.

The Iran nuclear deal

Tensions over Iran’s nuclear program exacerbated after Washington unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA on May 8, 2018 and slapped US economic sanctions on Iran’s oil exports. A year later, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran was scaling back some of its commitments under the JCPOA and called on other signatories to the deal to return to compliance with the agreement within two months. The JCPOA was signed between Iran, five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (Russia, the United Kingdom, China, the United States and France) and Germany in 2015. Under the deal, Iran undertook to curb its nuclear activities and place them under total control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange for the abandonment of the sanctions previously imposed over its nuclear program by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the United States.

Iran pledged not to enrich uranium above the level of 3.67% over a period of 15 years, maintain enriched uranium stockpiles within the 300kg limit, as well as not to build new heavy-water reactors, not to accumulate heavy water and not to develop nuclear explosive devices.

On July 7, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi announced that Teheran sought to preserve the nuclear deal and its latest steps were aimed at encouraging European partners to meet their commitments. The senior diplomat voiced hope that in the coming 60 days Iran would manage to achieve agreements with the Europeans on preserving the JCPOA. Otherwise, Iran would keep scaling down its commitments under the deal. Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said on July 8 that Teheran started enriching uranium to beyond the 3.67% level prescribed by the nuclear deal.