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French FM faces criticism on Iran visit

07 March 2018

In an article published on the government-run Iran newspaper, former Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi wrote March 6, "Upon returning to his country, Mr. Le Drian will undoubtedly inform his European friends and the American colleagues of France of the results of his trip, and it is the French foreign minister's responsibility to make his friends aware of the Islamic Republic of Iran's clear views along with Iran's interests, and persuade them that the option of giving concessions to the United States to save the JCPOA is a fruitless path whose success is unpredictable".

Reports have surfaced that European countries, including France, are pressing Iran to limit its missile program in order to keep the White House in the 2015 nuclear deal.

In response to Iranian claims that their ballistic missile program is peaceful, Le Drian said: "Having such tools is not uniquely defensive, given the distance they can reach".

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Iran's foreign minister slammed the European Union for "extremism" in relationship to Tehran in an interview published today ahead of a meeting with his French counterpart.

The French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, has arrived in Iran to talk with the country's president Hassan Rouhani, Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council and the Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, according to Iranian state TV. "If not tackled head on, this country risks new sanctions".

Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, also said Europe should compel the U.S. to abide by the deal, "rather than trying to appease" Washington.

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Referring to earlier remarks by the French foreign minister about Iran's ballistic missile program, Zarif said the JCPOA and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorses the deal, do not involve the Islamic Republic's missile capabilities.

Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said on Saturday that the Islamic Republic would hold no negotiations over its missile program unless the United States and Europe dismantle their nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

Since the lifting of the sanctions in January 2016, French automakers have piled into Iran's resurgent market, helping turn around a period of slipping sales, which occurred when they left the country in 2012.

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Le Drian's team has made it clear to Tehran that he is no "emissary of Donald Trump", and wants to preserve the nuclear deal. This complicates France's ability to advocate for sanctions on Iran, but it is important for France to remember that the majority of the Iranian economy is controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, a paramilitary force that answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and so any additional investments are likely funding terrorism and human rights violations.

French FM faces criticism on Iran visit