By Mohammad Ghaderi

Why Is Paris insisting on imposing Missile Limits on Iran?

January 21, 2018

TEHRAN - In last September and during the United Nations General Assembly in New York, extensive talks were held between U.S., British and French officials over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Britain, as the United States traditional ally, and France as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, had a perfect deal with Washington in this regard. Although Paris and London have repeatedly voiced their opposition to the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA and called for respecting the nuclear deal, in practice, we see France and Britain cooperation with the U.S. over making reforms in the content of the nuclear deal.

In other words, France and the United Kingdom intend to make these reforms look acceptable, and to distinguish between it and the breach of the nuclear deal. This is while any modification of the JCPOA is equal to changing it, and any changes in the JCPOA means a breach of the nuclear deal. This is what neither France nor Britain can deny.

In this equation, France plays an important role. The evidences show that "Donald Trump" and "Emmanuel Macron", the presidents of the United States and France, have sought to redefine the "White House Policy towards the JCPOA". Macaron's words about the "likelihood of completing the JCPOA," and including the issue of Iran's missile power and the new time limitations against Iran's nuclear program in the context of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, can't be easily ignored.

About a month ago, Emanuel Macron explicitly stated that "the JCPOA" is unchangeable. However, he still talks about completing the nuclear deal! What is certain is that completing the nuclear deal means changing this agreement. Under such circumstances, it is not clear what Macron means by changing the nuclear deal. Donald Trump called for the inclusion of new conditions, such as inspections of Iranian military sites, the inclusion of Iran's missile capability in the content of the nuclear deal and removal of the clauses related to time constraints of the JCPOA. Obviously, applying any changes to these clauses, even in the form of a complementary agreement, means a violation of the main agreement and is equal to the withdrawal of the opposing sides of the nuclear deal.

Macron knows well that a proposition called "completion of the nuclear deal" through an addendum, a supplementary agreement or even an interim agreement means a breach of the initial agreement. In such a situation, the JCPOA is going to lose its value, so France, like the United States, seeks to change the nuclear deal, but with a different literature! Interestingly enough, British Foreign Secretary, "Boris Johnson" also said recently in a statement that U.S. officials are not trying to step out of the JCPOA, but are seeking a reform of the nuclear deal. As noted, there has been remarkable softness in the positions of Paris and London towards the United States. But such softness has to be condemned by our foreign policy.

Britain and France continue to emphasize on the "completion of the JCPOA" and are trying to indicate it as a common approach to the nuclear deal! This is while the term "completion of the JCPOA" has essentially no meaning other than "changing the JCPOA". In this equation, the supplementary agreement essentially means the withdrawal of the United States and the European Troika of the JCPOA. As noted, during the meetings between Macron and Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the parties agreed on what they called "reforming the JCPOA".

A review over the positions of the French President indicates the same point. Emmanuel Macron, on the one hand, states that the nuclear deal is unchangeable and, on the other hand, calls for the completion of it, by including Iran's missile power and imposing permanent restrictions on Iran! Obviously, this contradictory approach is not acceptable at all. What is clear is that the slightest change in the content of the nuclear deal means the lack of commitment of the other party, or in other words, the official withdrawal of the P1 + 5 members of the nuclear deal.  Insisting firmly on this stance by our country's diplomacy system and foreign policy apparatus can counteract American-French joint action.

Now the joint game of France and the U.S. has to be carefully scrutinized by our country's diplomacy apparatus and foreign policy system. It should not be forgotten that Washington and Paris are completing a common puzzle. In other words, we shouldn't see the games of Paris and Washington separate in this field. Speaking of France as a "medium player" or an "independent player" would be a mistake in our foreign policy.

Paris has now entered the scene of confronting the JCPOA as a "player completing the U.S. game." Meanwhile, the soft literature of the French authorities shouldn't deceive us so that we may ignore the danger of a sudden change in this country's conduct. The reality is that the French president and its Foreign Minister are not going to have a similar approach like the previous government of the country (Hollande and Laurent Fabius) towards the nuclear deal, rather the same approach used by their former government in opposing to our peaceful nuclear activities will continue. Therefore, here "the behavior of the French government" shouldn't be taken as the "French government's approach" towards the nuclear deal.

As it can be seen, there is a difference between the statements made by the French and English authorities about the JCPOA and their practical approach towards the nuclear deal. This difference should be well understood by Iran. However, if the nuclear deal is violated by the United States, European troika will also be part of the process. In this condition, the only way before the three European countries is the emphasis on the JCPOA as a non-negotiable agreement. Nonetheless, countries like France and Britain have shown that they're not reluctant to re-negotiate the nuclear deal! A subject which is fully visible in the positions of people like Macron and Boris Johnson.

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