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Macron calls for ‘break’ to ease tension between Iran, US

President Donald J. Trump and Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, participate in their bilateral discussion Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, at the Lotte New York Palace in New York. (Shealah Craighead/White House)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

French President Emmanuel Macron has called for tensions between Iran and the United States to be scaled down on July 30 after speaking with Iranian President Hassan Rohani.

Meeting at the French presidential summer retreat, Macron said he wanted “to ensure that all parties agree to a break and open negotiations.”

He “recalled the need to initiate a de-escalation of tensions.”

Friction has increased over a 2015 nuclear accord under which Tehran promised to greatly limit its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

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In 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal and reimposed economically crippling sanctions in many sectors, including the crucial oil and finance industries.

France, Germany, and Britain — three of the six remaining accord signatories — have tried to salvage the deal and have proposed a complicated financial barter system designed to provide some economic relief to Tehran.

Iran says it no longer feels bound by the accord and on July 1 said it had amassed more than the permitted amount of low-enriched uranium.

Efforts to salvage the deal have been complicated in recent weeks by escalating tensions between London and Tehran, which were triggered by the capture of an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar and Iran’s subsequent seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker in the Hormuz Strait.

Little headway was made in Vienna on July 28 to save the nuclear accord between the pact’s five remaining signatories.