Putin and Macron call for efforts to save Iran deal: Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, pictured last month, have agreed on the need to save the Iran nuclear deal

Russian President Vladimir Putin and French leader Emmanuel Macron agreed Thursday on the need to "consolidate efforts" to save the Iran nuclear deal following months of soaring tensions, the Kremlin said.

In a phone call, Putin and Macron agreed the Iran deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was an "important factor in ensuring security in the Middle East and maintaining non-proliferation regime," the Kremlin said in a statement.

"Both sides stressed the advisability of consolidating efforts of all countries that are interested in preserving the Comprehensive Plan," it added.

US President Donald Trump last year withdrew from the multinational accord negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama under which Iran drastically scaled back its nuclear programme.

Trump instead imposed sweeping sanctions prohibiting Iranian oil exports in a bid to reduce the clerical regime's regional clout.

Putin and Macron also discussed ways to settle a separatist conflict in Ukraine as the country is set to hold parliamentary elections on Sunday.

The leaders expressed "readiness to ramp up joint work in this direction," the Kremlin added.

The French leader also accepted an invitation to come to Moscow next May for events marking the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over the Nazis during World War II.