French Foreign Minister urges Iran to accept nuclear deal

UNITED. NATIONS — France’s foreign minister on Monday urged Iran to accept the latest offer on the table to revive a 2015 nuclear deal with the United States and major powers aimed at curbing its nuclear program. The window of opportunity, she said, “is about to close.”

At a wide-ranging press conference on the sidelines of world leaders’ gathering this week at the UN General Assembly, Catherine Colonna said the window was open a bit at the end of August, but Iran “came back” with other issues related to its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, considered the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament.

She gave no details. But under the terms of the treaty, the original five nuclear powers – the United States, China, Russia (then the Soviet Union), Britain and France – agreed to negotiate for eliminate their arsenals one day. Nations without nuclear weapons have promised not to acquire them in exchange for a guarantee to be able to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

In 2018, then-President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement with the five nuclear powers and Germany, increasing tensions throughout the Middle East and triggering a series of attacks and incidents. President Joe Biden’s administration has been pushing to renew the deal, which put curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief, which Iran insists it won’t never received.

Referring to the other six parties to the nuclear deal, Colonna said: “We have said repeatedly, each of us, sometimes together like last week, that there will be no better deal on the table for Iran, and that it is really up to Iran to make its decision.

On another nuclear issue, Colonna said France would convene a meeting with UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi on Wednesday on the precarious state of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine. plant, the largest in Europe, which is occupied by Russia but still operated by Ukraine.

There was shelling in and around the plant, and Colonna said he spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday morning about the need for Ukraine, Russia and all countries in the world ” avert a nuclear catastrophe”.

She said Lavrov seemed “open to listening to a detailed proposal” from Grossi who called for a “nuclear security and protection zone” around the Zaporizhzhia power plant.

Colonna accused Russia of attacking the foundations of the United Nations by waging its unjustified war against Ukraine “in a very brutal way” with bombings of civilian targets, acts of violence, “rape, torture and forced liquidations “.

“All of these crimes are war crimes,” she said.

The French minister said that Russia is crossing three thresholds in the war: the legal threshold by violating the rules of relations between states in the United Nations Charter which call for the peaceful settlement of disputes; the moral threshold “by the scale of the crimes committed in Ukraine”; and the political threshold by destabilizing global food and energy security.

Colonna also called on China to end its “very aggressive” behavior towards Taiwan. She stressed that “the status quo should not be challenged by China and not by means that are not peaceful.” His comments followed Biden’s statement broadcast Sunday on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” that US forces would defend Taiwan if Beijing tried to invade.

The Chinese government on Monday denounced the US president’s remarks, saying they violated the US pledge not to support formal independence for Taiwan, a move that Beijing said would lead to war. Biden’s comment added to shows of official US support for island democracy in the face of growing shows of force from the mainland’s ruling Communist Party, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory.

Edith M. Lederer is the UN’s chief correspondent for the Associated Press and has covered international affairs for more than half a century. For more AP coverage of the United Nations General Assembly, visit

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