French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to continue holding talks with Tehran in the coming weeks to try to defuse tensions over Iran's nuclear program.
Macron made the comments on August 25 on the sidelines of a three-day summit of leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized nations in the French southwestern beach city of Biarritz, two days after he held talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Zarif in Paris.
G7 leaders 'had a discussion yesterday on Iran and that enabled us to establish two common lines: no member of the G7 wants Iran to get a nuclear bomb and all the members of the G7 are deeply attached to stability and peace in the region,' he said.
Tensions between Iran and the United States have ratcheted up since the United States last year withdrew from the 2015 deal under which Tehran agreed to rein in its nuclear activities in return for an easing of sanctions.
Washington has reimposed crippling sanctions on the Iranian economy, and Tehran began reducing some of its commitments under the nuclear deal.
A number of recent incidents in the Persian Gulf has exacerbated tensions further.
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Washington has been pushing its allies to help put 'maximum pressure' on Iran to force Tehran to the negotiating table over its nuclear program.
Meanwhile, the nuclear deal's European signatories - Britain, France, and Germany - have tried to salvage the accord, with Macron leading efforts to defuse the crisis by finding ways of resuming dialogue.
U.S. Doing 'Own Outreach'
A French diplomatic source was quoted as saying that G7 leaders meeting in Biarritz had mandated Macron to 'talk with Iran and address a message' to the country to avoid an escalation.
The French president denied that, telling reporters: 'There is no formal G7 mandate that is given, so there are initiatives that will continue to be taken to reach these two objectives.'
Asked if he had signed off on a decision by G7 leaders to authorize his French counterpart to talk to Tehran on the group's behalf, U.S. President Donald Trump said: 'I haven't discussed this."
'We'll do our own outreach, but, you know, I can't stop people from talking. If they want to talk, they can talk,' he told reporters during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
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Zarif described his meeting with Macron on August 23 as 'good and productive," and said that the French president's suggestions for salvaging the nuclear accord went in the 'right direction.'
The Iranian foreign minister is set to head to East Asia on August 25 as part of a diplomatic push to win relief from biting U.S. sanctions.
He will visit China, Japan, and Malaysia for talks that will include 'bilateral relations and most importantly regional and international issues," Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Musavi said.
With reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, and dpa
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