For France, ties with Iran are strained and likely to get worse. According to a memo dated August 20, France is citing security risks and other concerns for recommending that its diplomats and representatives postpone all travel to Iran. This recommendation comes after the foiled attack on the Iranian resistance gathering in late June, where several individuals were arrested. The attack appears to have ties to the Iranian intelligence community.
Terrorist attack foiled by Brussels arrest draws concerns
In June, an Iranian couple was arrested in Brussels and found to have explosives on them. Their destination was the Iranian resistance “Free Iran” rally in Villepinte, near Paris. An Iranian diplomat with ties to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) was arrested in Germany, although he is posted to Vienna.
Tehran denied any involvement or knowledge of the plot, but investigations suggest that the diplomat was not working on his own. In response to the accusations, the Iranian regime has blamed the Iranian resistance, claiming it was a staged event meant to attack the reputation of the Iranian government.
“Given the proven security risks, as has already been the case in the past, all ministry staff, whether from the central administration or the posts, are asked to postpone any travel project to Iran until further notice, unless it is imperative to do so, particularly for tourism or language reasons,” said Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Despite memo, Paris supports JCPOA
While this memo might result in cooler relations between the two countries, Paris remains one of the strongest supporters of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The JCPOA is in jeopardy because the U.S. under the Trump administration pulled out of the agreement in May.
Sanctions are being renewed, some of which went into effect in August, while more sanctions focused on Iran’s oil industry are coming online in November.
The European countries have attempted to mitigate the effect of sanctions on companies from their countries, but have been largely unsuccessful to date, as companies pull out of agreements with Iran and shut down operations. There were also issues with Iran’s banking industry, making it difficult for companies to make any progress in working with Iran.
The Iranian resistance points to the corruption and mismanagement that have made the regime so toxic in the international financial community. With this signal from France, it appears a shift is happening diplomatically that signals Iran’s regime might be on its last legs.