Iran urges Europe to 'accelerate' efforts to save nuclear deal

Macron and Rouhani met on the sidelines of the United Nations' General Assembly in New York in September 2018 (AFP Photo/ludovic MARIN)

Tehran (AFP) - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani urged Europe on Thursday to speed up efforts to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal, during a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron.

"Europe must accelerate its efforts to realise Iran's legitimate interests and bring about a ceasefire (in Washington's) economic war" against Iran, Rouhani told Macron, according to a statement on the government's official website.

"Iran is determined to keep open all options" for preserving the landmark deal, he added.

He also warned Macron that "missed opportunities" would force Iran to drop further commitments under the deal, after it withdrew from some limits on its nuclear activities in May.

Tehran's May 8 announcement came more than a year after Washington pulled out of the deal between world powers and the Islamic republic, which says it has lost patience with inaction by remaining European partners to the accord.

Iran in May also threatened to take further measures unless the remaining parties to the deal -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia -- help it circumvent US sanctions, especially to sell its oil.

Tehran has since exceeded limits the deal had set on its enriched uranium and heavy water stockpiles, as well as passing a cap the deal had imposed on its uranium enrichment.

The 4.5 percent enrichment level it reached is well below the more than 90 percent required for a nuclear warhead.

Iran has yet to specify what further steps it may take, and has repeatedly emphasised that its actions can be reversed if European partners deliver on their own commitments.