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U.S., France Agree To Continue 'Close Coordination' On Reviving Iran Nuclear Deal

By RFE/RL March 08, 2022

The United States and France have agreed to continue their close coordination as talks on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers reached a critical point.

The U.S. State Department issued the statement after Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on March 8 to discuss the Iran nuclear deal.

Earlier, the European parties negotiating to revive the deal warned Russia not to add conditions that would complicate reaching an accord, they said in a joint statement to the UN nuclear watchdog's 35-country board of governors.

"The window of opportunity is closing. We call on all sides to make the decisions necessary to close this deal now, and on Russia not to add extraneous conditions to its conclusion," Britain, France and Germany said after Russia announced extra demands that stalled negotiations.

The diplomatic activity comes after Iran announced earlier it had successfully launched its second military satellite.

"Iran's second military satellite -- named Noor-2 -- has been launched into space by the Qassed rocket of the aerospace wing of the Revolutionary Guards and successfully placed in orbit 500 kilometers above the Earth," the official IRNA news agency reported on March 8.

Iran's military has struggled to get effective military reconnaissance craft into orbit, though it took a major step toward strengthening its capabilities when it successfully put a Noor-1 satellite into orbit in 2020.

The United States has alleged Iran's satellite launches defy a UN Security Council resolution and has called on Tehran to abstain from activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Some Middle Eastern and Western officials have expressed concern that Tehran could share imagery from the satellites with pro-Iran militia groups around the region.

Talks to restore the 2015 deal that the United States withdrew from in 2018 have been ongoing in Vienna since April, mediated by France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, and China.

Negotiators on all sides have signaled that a potential deal is close as the head of the UN nuclear watchdog agreed to a timetable for Iran to answer the watchdog's long-standing questions about Tehran's program.

Iran, which has long said it does not seek nuclear weapons, previously maintained that its satellite launches and rocket tests do not have a military component. U.S. intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency have said Iran abandoned an organized military nuclear program in 2003.

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-satellite- launch-military-nuclear-deal/31742560.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.



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