Iran's government spokesman sounded optimistic Monday about reaching a deal with Europe to avert a deadline set by Iran to further reduce its commitments under the 2015 nuclear agreement.
In May, Iran threatened Europe that if it does not take concrete steps to help Iran conduct trade despite U.S. sanctions, it will gradually reduce its compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, as the nuclear deal is known.
Following the Iranian threat and attacks on shipping in the Persian Gulf, France began a mediation effort to reduce tensions between the United States and Iran, reportedly by proposing a compromise over reduction of crippling U.S. sanctions, which Tehran has been demanding from Europe.
Iran's government spokesman said on Monday Iran and France's views have become closer over Tehran's nuclear deal, mainly after phone calls between President Hassan Rouhani and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.
"Fortunately, the points of views have become closer on many issues and now technical discussions are being held on ways to carry out the Europeans' commitments (in the nuclear deal)," the spokesman, Ali Rabiei, said in remarks carried by state television, without giving details.
The spokesman of Iran’s foreign ministry told state broadcaster that Iran’s “third step” in reducing its commitments would be “more serious” but if there is progress in talks with Europe “things can return to where they were before”.
Since the United States pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal last year, European parties to the pact have been trying to convince Iran to remain compliant by promising to shield its economic interests from U.S. sanctions.