Iran is on course to breach a threshold in its nuclear agreement with world powers within days by accumulating more enriched uranium than permitted, although it has not done so yet, diplomats said, citing the latest data from U.N. inspectors.
France, one of the European powers caught in the middle in an escalating confrontation between Washington and Tehran, said it would ask U.S. President Donald Trump to suspend some sanctions on Iran to allow negotiations to defuse the crisis.
A week after Trump called off air strikes on Iran minutes before impact, world leaders are trying to pull the two countries back from the brink, warning that a mistake on either side could lead to war.
“I want to convince Trump that it is in his interest to re-open a negotiation process (and) go back on certain sanctions to give negotiations a chance,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in Japan, where he is due to meet Trump on the sidelines of a summit in coming days.
A move by Tehran that clearly breached its 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers would transform the diplomatic landscape and probably force European countries to take sides.
Macron said he had two priorities: de-escalating military tension and keeping Iran from violating the accord, which European countries still hope to save even though Trump ignored their advice and quit it last year.
The latest data from U.N. inspectors suggested Iran had not yet violated the deal on Thursday, despite having named it as a day when it might do so.
“They haven’t reached the limit… It’s more likely to be at the weekend if they do it,” said one diplomat in Vienna, headquarters of the U.N. nuclear agency IAEA, on condition of anonymity.