French President Emmanuel Macron has warned Iran not to quit its 2015 nuclear deal or give signals that it intended to do so, and said he would discuss efforts to avoid military escalation with US President Donald Trump.
US allies in Europe have been alarmed by an escalation between the United States and Iran in recent weeks, which culminated last week when Trump ordered air strikes only to call them off minutes before impact.
Washington, which quit an agreement last year under which Iran accepted curbs on its nuclear programme in return for access to world trade, has sharply tightened sanctions since May.
Iran has responded by saying it could take steps that would violate the nuclear deal.
European countries, which disagreed with the US decision to withdraw from the pact but share US concerns about Iranian behaviour, have been caught in the middle, expressing increasing concern that a mistake on either side could trigger war.
Macron said he had two priorities: keeping Iran inside the nuclear deal and avoiding military escalation.
"Tensions are growing and for me the first element is that there is no exit from the framework. The second thing, and I will discuss it with president (Trump) tomorrow, is to do everything to avoid a military escalation," Macron said.
"I had a conversation with President (Hassan) Rouhani a couple of days ago and I indicated that any exit from the accord would be an error and any signals in that direction would be an error," Macron told reporters.
Tehran has said it intends to continue to abide by the nuclear agreement, but cannot do so indefinitely if it receives no economic benefits.
It has set a number of deadlines in recent weeks for European countries to shield it from US sanctions or it will take steps that could ultimately violate it.
Senior diplomats from the European powers are due to meet the US special envoy on Iran in Paris on Thursday. Macron said officials were working on ways to improve the nuclear deal.
Australian Associated Press
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