French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has called on Iran to show a constructive stance in indirect talks to be held with a US delegation in Vienna next week as part of broader efforts to revive a 2015 nuclear deal.
Following a call with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on Saturday, Le Drian said in a statement that he had asked Iran to refrain from further violations of current nuclear commitments to aid discussions.
"I encouraged Iran to be constructive in the discussions that are set to take place," Le Drian said. "They are meant to help identify in the coming weeks the steps that will be needed in order to return to full compliance with the nuclear deal."
The European Union is pushing to bring US President Joe Biden's administration back into the nuclear accord to limit Tehran's ambitions.
The United States will not take part directly in the discussions also involving China, Germany, Russia, and Britain. But for the first time since former leader Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran agreement in 2018, a US delegation will be present.
The 2015 nuclear accord saw Iran granted relief from international sanctions in exchange for accepting limits on its programme aimed at easing fears it could acquire atomic weapons.
Biden has promised to rejoin the agreement on condition Iran first returns to respecting commitments it abandoned in retaliation for Trump's decision to impose crippling sanctions. However, Tehran says Washington has to end sanctions before it will make any moves.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price called the Vienna talks a "healthy step forward". He said Washington "remains open" to holding direct talks with Tehran, an option Iranian officials have so far ruled out.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)