French officials have told Iran’s envoy that Tehran must uphold its commitments to the landmark nuclear deal signed with world powers in 2015 and make moves to de-escalate tensions in the Gulf region.

The meeting comes as US-Iran tensions continue to rise over a series of attacks by Iran in the Gulf and continuing US sanctions on the Iranian economy after Washington withdrew from the accord last year.

A statement by the French Foreign Ministry said Seyed Abbas Araghchi gave a message to President Emmanuel Macron from Iranian leader Hassen Rouhani. Mr Macron and Mr Rouhani spoke last Thursday.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who met with Mr Araghchi, is working with European partners on an observation mission to ensure maritime security in the Gulf, where tensions have mounted after Iran’s seizure last Friday of a British-flagged oil tanker.

Mr Le Drian made no mention of a Europe-led “maritime protection mission” announced a day earlier by his British counterpart, Jeremy Hunt, offering instead what seems to be a softer version.

France is working “at this moment on a European initiative” with Britain and Germany, he told lawmakers, without elaborating. “This vision is the opposite of the American initiative, which is … maximum pressure” against Iran.

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