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Iran, France Close to Exchanging Ambassadors

Iran, France Close to Exchanging Ambassadors

Saturday, 9 March, 2019 - 06:00
A general view shows the Arc de Triomphe and the financial and business district in La Defense, west of Paris, France November 22, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
Paris - Michel Abou Najm
Iran and France are set to exchange ambassadors after the diplomatic posts remained vacant for around eight months following accusations that the Iranian intelligence had planned an attack on an opposition group in Paris.

Bahram Ghasemi, a former envoy to Spain and Italy and current spokesman of the foreign ministry, has been appointed as Iran's new ambassador to France, a high-ranking source told Arab journalists in Paris earlier this week.

In Paris, the Official Gazette said that Philippe Thiebaud, a former envoy to South Korea and Pakistan who once represented France at the UN atomic watchdog, had been appointed as ambassador to Tehran.

It is not yet known when he will travel to Iran to take over the diplomatic mission after a series of diplomatic fallouts between France and Iran that broke out last year.

In June, France accused a branch of Iran's intelligence ministry of attempting to bomb a meeting of the People's Mujahedin, an Iranian opposition group, near Paris.

Relations between France and Iran have also been strained over demands by Paris that Iran limits its ballistic missiles program -- which Tehran says is purely defensive.

Asked whether the exchange of ambassadors would resolve differences between Paris and Tehran, French sources said that the European country holds onto its stance regarding Iran’s ballistic program and “destabilizing” role in the region.

Yet this would not stop France from salvaging the 2015 nuclear accord.

In May the United States withdrew from the deal and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran.

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