“Iran still refuses to seize the opportunity offered to it to conclude a good agreement as the last talks with the Americans in Doha showed”, he declared while receiving the new Israeli Prime Minister Yaïr Lapid at the Elysee.

"But on this subject as on others, we will continue, in close coordination with our partners, all efforts to try to bring Iran to its senses," added Emmanuel Macron, insisting on the Europeans' desire to " bring the negotiations with Tehran to a successful conclusion as soon as possible.

The talks in Austria opened in April 2021 are intended to reintegrate the United States into the Iranian nuclear agreement concluded in 2015 (JCPOA) and to bring Iran back to full compliance with its commitments dictated by this pact.

The Jewish state is trying to convince the Western powers not to renew the agreement governing the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions on Tehran.

Israeli officials, who fear that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons - which Tehran denies - fear in particular that the lifting of sanctions will allow Iran to replenish its coffers to increase its aid to its allies in the borders of Israel, like the Lebanese Hezbollah or the Palestinian Hamas.

Mr. Macron, joining his Israeli interlocutor on this point, once again pleaded for additional negotiations to frame Iran's ballistic program and regional ambitions.

"We agree with Israel that this agreement will not be enough to contain Iran's destabilizing activities, but I remain more convinced than ever that an Iran on the nuclear threshold could carry out these activities in an even more dangerous," he said.

Yaïr Lapid underlined both the "disagreements" on the JCPOA but also the convergence of views with Emmanuel Macron on the need to "respond" to the threat represented, according to him, by Iran in the Middle East.

French President Emmanuel Macron (d) and Israeli Prime Minister Yaïr Lapid at the Elysée Palace in Paris, July 5, 2022 Ludovic MARIN AFP

"In 2018, you were the first world leader to speak out about the need for a new, more efficient, better-defined agreement with Iran that would not come with an expiration date, with coordinated international pressure that would prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-threshold state," he said.

"You were right then and you are right now. The current situation cannot continue. It will lead to an arms race in the Middle East that will threaten world peace. We must work together to prevent let it happen,” he concluded.

© 2022 AFP

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