Accessibility links

Breaking News

France's Plan To De-Escalate Tensions Being Reviewed, Says Iran Official

French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S. President Donald Trump and other Western leaders meeting in France on August 25, 2019.

Officials in Tehran are reviewing France's plan to reduce tensions between Iran and the United States, President Hassan Rouhani's Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi said on Wednesday.

Speaking to the official news agency IRNA, Vaezi declined to give away any details on the plan saying that publicity shouldn't hinder "a very significant matter, about which talks are under way."

"Iran and France have their own views on the matter. We are having consultations in Tehran while France is consulting with EU. So, let us discuss the details after the agreement is finalized," Vaezi told IRNA.

Vaezi's reference to "consultations" in Tehran about an "agreement" could mean a review of the agreement at institutions such as the Supreme Council of National Security. It can also mean that state officials are waiting for Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's final decree on the matter.

In the meantime, Vaezi confirmed that talks between the Islamic Republic and France have had "a good progress."

He added that an Iranian economic delegation will be visiting France next week to discuss the details of the plan.

The media broke the news on Sunday after a surprise visit by Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to the venue of the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France and his meeting French President Emmanuel Macron. One day earlier, Macron had discussed his plan to de-escalate tension between Tehran and Washington during a luncheon with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Iranian, French and U.S. officials have not offered any explanation on the plan so far, however, some media outlets have publicized some details quoting unnamed sources.

Based on these reports, sanction waivers can be extended to some buyers of Iranian oil in exchange for Iran’s return to full compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement or JCPOA.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported on Sunday quoting several Iranian officials and diplomats as having said that Iran's suggestions in talks with France include allowing Iran to sell 700,000 barrels of oil per day.

Based on these reports, Iran also asks for its missile program not to be included in the package being discussed with French officials.

Another part of the package is said to be a reduction in Iran's military presence in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Previously, the French President had suggested a "freeze for freeze" plan based on which Iran stops suspending its obligations under the JCPOA and the United States temporarily revives sanctions waivers that would allow some oil exports for Iran.

While France's plan is on the top of the news, there have been suggestions about the possibility of meetings between Iranian and U.S. officials, particularly in view of the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting in New York in September.

Following remarks about the possibility of a meeting between the presidents of Iran and the United States in New York, Hassan Rouhani has expressing willingness to meet, has conditioned any such move to the lifting of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

However, Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei who had earlier categorically prohibited negotiations with the U.S. has been so far silent about Rouhani's comment although hardliners in the Iranian Parliament and press have criticized Rouhani.

At the same time, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton has said that President Trump's call for talks with Rouhani about Tehran's nuclear program does not mean the softening of Washington's position in relation to the Islamic Republic.