Paris Says Iran Has no Choice but to Engage in Talks

Paris Says Iran Has no Choice but to Engage in Talks

Friday, 31 August, 2018 - 07:00
French Foreign Minister Yves Le Drian delivers a speech at the annual French ambassadors' conference in Paris. Reuters file photo
Paris - Michel Abou Najm
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian asserted Thursday that Iran cannot avoid talks on contentious issues like its ballistic missile program or meddling in conflicts in the Middle East.

Speaking at a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Vienna on Thursday, Le Drian said: “Iran cannot avoid discussions, negotiations on three other major subjects that worry us — the future of Iran’s nuclear commitments after 2025, the ballistic question and the fact there is a sort of ballistic proliferation on the part of Iran… and the role Iran plays to stabilize the whole region.”

France, Germany, and Britain are exerting efforts to save the 2015 deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, from which US President Donald Trump withdrew last May, re-imposing sanctions against Tehran.

Le Drian sent a clear message to Iran about the need to listen to what the Europeans are asking.

“We must talk about these three subjects, Iran must be aware of this and that’s the message I send to them from Vienna,” he said.

The Minister’s comments came a day after Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said in a meeting with the cabinet and President Hassan Rouhani that the nuclear deal is not the objective, it is only a means.

"Naturally, if we reach the conclusion that it is no longer maintaining our national interests, we will put it aside,” he said.

French official sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that if Iran wants the support of Paris and other European capitals in dealing with the current sanctions and the nuclear deal, it should “avoid any escalation or political or security provocations such as threatening to close regional straits or return to uranium enrichment.”

The sources said Iran is not in a position to impose conditions or set deadlines on European parties seeking to protect the nuclear agreement.

“It is in the interest of Iran to listen to European demands,” the sources added.

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