By staff and agency

Le Drian to Trump: 'No permission' needed for dialogue with Iran

August 11, 2019

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday that Paris "needs no permission" to engage in dialogue with Iran, responding to an earlier tweet by President Donald Trump scolding French President Emmanuel Macron over the matter.

"On Iran, France speaks with complete sovereignty. It is working hard for peace and security in the region, it is working to facilitate a deescalation in tensions and it needs no permission to do so," Le Drian said in a statement.

Trump had earlier blamed Macron for sending “mixed signals” to Tehran.
In May 2018, Trump unilaterally abandoned the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the official name for the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers – and introduced old and new sanctions on Iran. Trump’s administration has also sought to further scupper implementation of the deal by pressuring remaining signatories, specifically the European parties to the deal.

While expressing opposition to the U.S. revocation of the deal, European signatories (France, Britain and Germany) have so far failed to ensure that Iran receives the economic benefits promised under the deal but hampered by U.S. sanctions.

Trump’s comments chastising Macron came two days after the French president spoke with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani.
During the phone call, Macron stressed that France was committed to upholding the JCPOA and finding a solution that could both benefit Iran and be accepted by all sides of the deal, Press TV reported.

Macron also welcomed a proposal from Rouhani calling for the formation of a joint panel of experts seeking solutions to regional and international disputes.
Macron recently stepped up diplomatic contact with Tehran in a bid to allegedly cease the U.S. economic war against Iran and deescalate tensions in the region.
"That's what President Macron is doing, in full transparency with our partners, above all our European partners," Le Drian said of the initiative, adding that Macron was "obviously keeping American authorities informed".

The French diplomatic push comes as the U.S. has taken a quasi-warlike posture against Iran in recent months, stepping up provocative military deployments in the Middle East and calling for the formation of a "multinational maritime" naval deployment in the region.

The initiative has so far failed to receive much support among Washington's key allies.

Iran has repeatedly stressed that foreign presence in the Persian Gulf is a lead cause for tension and that only regional cooperation between neighboring countries can assure the security of the vital international energy hub.

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