France Seeking to Ease US Economic Pressure on Iran
EghtesadOnline: France is exploring ways to help put the brakes on the US economic pressure campaign against Iran, as it would benefit the entire region, the French president’s top adviser, who was in Tehran to meet Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Iran's top security official, said.
French President Emmanuel Macron is seeking “initiatives” to help improve the situation because he believes that it will help reduce growing tensions in the region, Emmanuel Bonne also said in a meeting with Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, ISNA reported.
The French presidency's office said Bonne was in Tehran "to piece together a de-escalation" strategy after Tehran announced more cuts in its commitments to its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers in response to Washington's withdrawal last year.
Iran has been pushing the European signatories to the accord, namely France, Germany and the United Kingdom, to protect its economy from renewed US sanctions. Europe's efforts have so far failed to persuade Iran to return to full compliance with the nuclear agreement, according to Financial Tribune.
Macron had earlier said he will try to convince US President Donald Trump to suspend some sanctions on Iran to allow for negotiations to de-escalate the crisis in the region, according to Reuters.
Bonne told Shamkhani that he is neither a "mediator" nor is "carrying a message from the US government".
He added that the French government is keen to continue its cooperation with the Islamic Republic as an "influential regional player" to help settle the ongoing crises in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.
The Iranian security official criticized Europeans' inaction to deliver on their side of the bargain, saying that Iran will keep reducing its nuclear commitments within the deal's legal framework unless its demands are met.
While the European Union has established the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX)—a payment mechanism designed as a workaround to US sanctions—Iran has said it does not meet its requirements and would need to be able to facilitate oil trade to be useful.
Europe, a US Hostage
America has taken Europe's sovereignty hostage, and EU member states should stand against US unilateralism to defend their identity and independence, Shamkhani added.
He said Iran is a powerful country and America should learn that it cannot use the language of force against it to achieve its objectives.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Wednesday welcomed France's role in reducing tension and implementing the accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
"France is a party to JCPOA and we regard its efforts as being within JCPOA's framework and as part of its responsibilities to help keep the nuclear deal alive," he said.
The French president said on Saturday he and President Hassan Rouhani had agreed to seek conditions for a resumption of dialogue on the Iranian nuclear deal by July 15.
"The president of the republic has agreed with his Iranian counterpart to explore by July 15 conditions to resume dialogue between the parties," Macron's office said in a statement.