The Latest: French FM says US can ease tensions with Iran

International News

PARIS (AP) — The Latest on developments related to tensions between the U.S. and Iran (all times local):

6:20 p.m.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says the U.S. can help encourage dialogue with Iran to ease growing tensions even though it withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran.

Speaking to the French Senate, Le Drian said that Iran’s decision to surpass two accord threshholds, for stockpiling weakly enriched uranium and enriching uranium beyond the 3.67% limit, amounts to “a bad reaction to a bad decision,” a reference to the U.S. withdrawal.

France wants to create a “space for dialogue” to de-escalate a potentially dangerous situation, he said, and President Emmanuel Macron spoke both to the Iranian leader and President Donald Trump for that reason.

He says: “The Americans, even if they’re no longer signatories … can make needed gestures of appeasement to open a space of discussion to avoid an uncontrolled escalation, or even an accident.”

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3:45 p.m.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is making a thinly veiled threat to Iran, a day after Iran announced it began enriching uranium beyond the limit set by a 2015 nuclear agreement.

Standing in front of an F-35 stealth fighter during a tour of an air base on Tuesday, Netanyahu said Iran “ought to remember that these planes can reach every place in the Middle East, including Iran and certainly Syria.”

Netanyahu has been a vocal critic of the nuclear deal struck by world powers and Iran in 2015, and has called on Europe to impose fresh sanctions in response to Iran’s breach of it.

Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed that he will never allow Iran to develop the capability to make a nuclear bomb

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3:25 p.m.

European parties to a nuclear deal with Iran say they have “deep concern” that Iran has begun enriching uranium to a higher purity than allowed under the agreement and are calling for an urgent meeting of all involved in the accord.

In a joint statement Tuesday by Germany, Britain, France and the European Union, the group expressed “deep concern that Iran is not meeting several of its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” or JCPOA, as the 2015 nuclear deal is known.

Besides enriching uranium past the allowed 3.67% to 4.5%, the U.N. nuclear agency has also confirmed Iran has surpassed the stockpile limit on low-enriched uranium.

The Europeans say Iran has said it wants to remain in the JCPOA and “must act accordingly by reversing these activities and returning to full JCPOA compliance without delay.”

They say a meeting of the JCPOA commission, which also included Russia and China, “should be convened urgently” but didn’t specify when.

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12:30 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s top diplomatic adviser is spending two days in Tehran as part of an urgent bid to deescalate rising tensions with Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

An Elysee Palace official said that adviser Emmanuel Bonne left for Tehran on Tuesday, seeking ways to restart dialogue. The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter and asked for anonymity.

Macron and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani agreed in a weekend conversation to set a July 15 deadline to solve the current impasse, and ultimately save the 2015 nuclear accord that the U.S. pulled out of last year.

Macron spoke with President Donald Trump on Monday — the day Iran began enriching uranium beyond the accord’s 3.67% limit, and after breaking the limit on stockpiles.

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