Western leaders urge Iran to act in ‘good faith’ on nuclear deal

By Michel Rose and Jeff Mason

ROME (Reuters) -The United States, Germany, France and Britain urged Iran on Saturday to resume compliance with a 2015 nuclear deal in order to “avoid a dangerous escalation”.

Leaders of the four countries, who are hoping to convince Tehran to stop enriching uranium to near-weapons-grade levels, said they wanted a negotiated solution.

“This will only be possible if Iran changes course,” U.S. President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a joint statement.

“We call upon President Raisi to seize this opportunity and return to a good faith effort to conclude our negotiations as a matter of urgency. That is the only sure way to avoid a dangerous escalation, which is not in any country’s interest,” they said after meeting on the sidelines of a G20 summit.

The 2015 nuclear deal unravelled after then-U.S. President Trump withdrew from it in 2018, prompting Iran to breach various limits on uranium enrichment.

Talks between Iran and world powers aimed at salvaging the deal, which started in April, are slated to resume at the end of November, the Islamic Republic’s top nuclear negotiator said on Wednesday.

Asked as he went into Saturday’s meeting when he wanted the Iran talks to resume, Biden said only: “They’re scheduled to resume.”

A senior U.S. administration official told reporters the meeting on Iran at the G20 gathering had been suggested by Merkel with the aim of giving leaders an opportunity to review the issues ahead of the resumption of the talks.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Michel RoseEditing by Elizabeth Piper, Mark Heinrich and Helen Popper)

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