Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel MacronReuters

French President Emmanuel Macron stressed the "need to accelerate" efforts to achieve progress in the Iranian nuclear talks during a telephone call with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi, aides said Sunday, according to AFP.

Macron's call with Raisi took place on Saturday and came a day after the EU mediator said the latest negotiating round in Vienna had been put on pause while calling for "political decisions" to break the deadlock.

"The president has reiterated his conviction that a diplomatic solution is possible and imperative and stressed that any agreement will require clear and sufficient commitment from all the parties," the French presidency said in a statement.

"Several months after negotiations resumed in Vienna, (Macron) insisted on the need to accelerate in order to quickly achieve tangible progress in this context," it added.

During a "long exchange" with his Iranian counterpart, Macron stressed "the need for Iran to show a constructive approach and return to the complete application of its obligations".

The Iranian presidency, in a brief statement after the call, said Tehran had proved its willingness and determination to reach a negotiated deal.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal it signed with world powers in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018.

However, it has held several rounds of indirect talks with the US on reviving the deal. The talks are being mediated by the remaining five countries that are party to the deal.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian last week signaled a willingness by Iran to engage directly with the US in discussions over the deal if necessary to reach a satisfactory agreement.

A State Department spokesperson later said the US is prepared to hold direct talks with Iran on its nuclear program.

"We are prepared to meet directly," the spokesperson said, adding, "We have long held the position that it would be more productive to engage with Iran directly, on both JCPOA negotiations and other issues.”

The Islamic Republic has repeatedly demanded that the US lift sanctions imposed on Iran and also reassure Iran it will not abandon the deal again as a precondition for its returning to compliance with the deal.

Raisi last Tuesday once again stressed that an agreement with the United States over the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers is possible if sanctions on Iran are lifted.