Published: Thu, March 08, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

French FM Visits Iran to Talk Ballistic Missiles and Syria

French FM Visits Iran to Talk Ballistic Missiles and Syria

On May 12, Donald Trump is expected to decide whether to continue waiving sanctions under a United States law.

Iranian officials have rejected French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian's request for curbing its missile program after a day of tense discussions in Tehran on Monday aimed at salvaging the historic nuclear deal.

Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron said that a "mechanism of sanctions and control" should be developed to "monitor" Iran's ballistic missile program.

Le Drian has insisted he is not "an emissary of Trump", but he has taken a firm line on Iran's missile program and regional interventions that mirrors the rhetoric from Washington.

Zariff responded that Europe must "play a more constructive role" to preserve the agreement.

"Those who for 70 years have been fomenting chaos, war and destruction in the region and have committed genocide and caused the Sabra and Shatila [massacres], are not in a position to talk about Iran's threat", Rouhani said.

But American sanctions against Iran remain, hindering foreign companies outside of the USA from doing business with Tehran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said the European Union is capable of playing a constructive role in order to protect the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aka nuclear deal.

Still, Le Drian told The Times of Israel he is not "an emissary of Trump", and "there's still a lot of work to do on Iran's missile program".

"They think that these methods can open the door to negotiations on other issues after the nuclear agreement".

Iran has dismissed Le Drian's legitimate concerns, with Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, a spokesman for Iran's armed forces, saying that foreigners had no right to express a view on Iran's defence.

"Iran is not a threat to anyone". 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.

In February, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated unequivocally that: "We will negotiate with no one on our weapons".

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