U.S. Iran envoy spoke with Britain, France, Germany - sources

John Irish and Arshad Mohammed
·2-min read

By John Irish and Arshad Mohammed

PARIS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The new U.S. Iran envoy spoke with senior British, French and German officials on Thursday to explore how the European parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal see the issue, two sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

"It was to take stock of the dossier and to assess what our state of mind is," a European diplomatic source said of newly named U.S. envoy Rob Malley's conversation with the British, French and German foreign ministry political directors.

A second source familiar with the matter confirmed that the meeting had taken place but offered no details on its content.

The nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was struck by Iran and six major powers in 2015 and committed Iran to restricting its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief from the United States and others.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018 and reimposed U.S. sanctions, leading Iran to begin violating its terms.

Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, on Friday told a think tank it was a critical early priority for President Joe Biden to deal with what he called an escalating nuclear crisis with Iran as it grows closer to an atomic weapon. [L1N2K429J]

Biden has said if Tehran returns to the deal, Washington would do so as well and would seek to build what his aides have called a "longer and stronger agreement" to also deal with issues such as Iran's development of ballistic missiles and its support for proxy forces in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

(Reporting by John Irish in Paris and Arshad Mohammed in Washington; Additional reporting by Jonathan Landay in Washington; Writing by Arshad Mohammed and Michelle Nichols)