Ebrahim Raisi
Ebrahim RaisiReuters

Iran’s new President, Ebrahim Raisi, on Monday spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron in his first phone call to a Western leader, and asked Macron to help secure Iran's “rights” in talks on a return to the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Raisi told Macron that the US and European Union must implement their commitments under the 2015 deal, according to The Associated Press.

“In any negotiation, the rights of the Iranian nation should be secured and guaranteed," he said, criticizing the US for abandoning the accord and reimposing crushing sanctions under former President Donald Trump.

Macron, for his part, called on Iran to “quickly resume negotiations in Vienna in order to get to a conclusion and put an end without delay to all the nuclear activities it is carrying out in breach of the agreement," the French government statement said, according to AP.

Raisi was sworn in as president of Iran last Thursday, vowing to bring an end to US sanctions on the Islamic Republic, denouncing the sanctions as “illegal”.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to former Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in 2018, but has been holding indirect talks with the Biden administration on a return to the agreement.

However, Iran recently paused the talks and announced they will not resume before the Raisi government takes office.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week that nuclear talks with Iran "cannot go on indefinitely" but that Washington was "fully prepared" to continue negotiations.

"We're committed to diplomacy, but this process cannot go on indefinitely... we look to see what Iran is ready to do or not ready to do and remain fully prepared to return to Vienna to continue negotiations," he stated.

His remarks were echoed by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who said that Iran is "delaying" talks to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal and warned that the option to revive the deal would not remain open forever.