France uses the opportunity in new U.S. administration to pressure Iran

January 23, 2021 - 10:16

TEHRAN - On Thursday, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, demanded Iran to immediately return to its commitments under the nuclear deal to restrict Tehran’s nuclear program.

European states are waiting to see what steps Joe Biden, the new U.S. president, will take to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehension Plan of Action (JCPOA) after Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement.

Biden has said the U.S will return to the accord if Iran resumes strict compliance with it. Iran insists that the economic, financial, and oil sanctions must be lifted before it reverses its nuclear program. Antony Blinken, Biden’s nominee for secretary of state said on Tuesday that the U.S. had to stop what he called Iran’s move to build a nuclear weapon immediately.

The EU wants to save the deal but some Persian Gulf and Western countries claim that the deal may empower Iran to expand its influence in West Asia.

During a meeting with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed in Paris, Le Drian urged Iran to reverse its violations of the deal, including increasing uranium enrichment beyond limits set by the nuclear deal. 

According to the French Foreign Ministry, “He (Le Drian) noted that Iran should immediately resume full respect of its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA in order to preserve regional stability and avoid a serious proliferation crisis.” 

Pointing to a possible future deal, Le Drian said it needs to cover Tehran’s missile program and regional activities in West Asia. 

Last week, he told France's Journal du Dimanche newspaper, "The Trump administration chose what it called the maximum pressure campaign on Iran. The result was that this strategy only increased the risk and the threat." 

In response to Le Drian's claims, in a Twitter post on January 17 Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal did nothing to save the deal, officially called the JCPOA.
France, Britain, and Germany - commonly known as E3 – are signatory to the JCPOA.

“E3 leaders—who rely on signature of OFAC functionaries to carry out their obligations under JCPOA—have done ZILCH to maintain JCPOA. Remember @EmmanuelMacron's stillborn initiative or UK non-payment of court-ordered debt? JCPOA is alive because of Iran and not E3, @JY_LeDrian,” Zarif tweeted.

The chief Iranian diplomat also said France is destabilizing the West Asia region by selling advanced arms to regional countries.

Iran has clearly said that it will not negotiate on its defensive missile program.  However, it has said if the parties to the deal fully honor their commitments Tehran will immediately reverse its nuclear decisions.

France which expresses worry about Iran’s defensive missile program was one of the main arms suppliers to the Saddam regime which invaded Iran in the 1980.


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