Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Iran Concerned About French Statements

Iran Concerned About French Statements

Monday, 15 April, 2019 - 06:00
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meets with France’s newly appointed ambassador to Tehran Philippe Thiebaud. IRNA
Paris - Michel Abou Najm
Tehran expressed concern on Sunday over a tweet posted earlier by French Ambassador to the US Gerard Araud that “sanctions could be re-imposed” on Iran once the 2015 nuclear deal expires after 10 years.

On Saturday, Araud wrote that under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its additional protocol, Iran would have to prove, under strict monitoring, that its nuclear activities are civilian.

“As we said in 2002 that enriching uranium without a credible civilian program was illegal under the NPT, we’ll be able to react likewise in 2025 if necessary. Sanctions were imposed. Sanctions could be re-imposed,” the diplomat said.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry described Araud’s remarks as “unacceptable” and in “open violation” of the nuclear deal.

The Ministry also summoned France’s newly appointed ambassador to Tehran, Philippe Thiebaud.

For his part, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi asked whether Araud’s tweets represented the French position. “We're facing a major violation of the object and purpose of the JCPOA and UNSCR 2231,” he said, adding that Tehran needs immediate clarification by Paris, or it should act accordingly.

Araud, who previously took part in nuclear talks with Iran, stirred political tension between France and Iran before his retirement on April 20.

The French Ambassador and his partner Pascal Blondeau would not return to Paris, but decided to move to New York where Araud plans to work with French-Moroccan businessman and events producer Richard Attias, whose wife Cecilia was the second spouse of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The controversy that emerged over Araud’s comments during the weekend came not long after France and Iran exchanged ambassadors, ending a six-month vacuum during which relations between them remained tense.

Despite Araud’s comments, the well-known French position from the Nuclear Deal and the need to launch new talks to tackle its clauses for the phase following 2025, remains unchanged, observers in Paris said.

Editor Picks