France Foreign Minister says Iran can’t avoid talks

France Foreign Minister, Jean-Luc Le Drian

Earlier this week, France released statements indicating that any nonessential travel to Iran was being discouraged for its diplomats and representatives. The reasons given include a failed attempt at a terrorist attack on an Iranian resistance gathering in Paris at the end of June. The memo detailing the restrictions on travel related to the also noted that the attitude from Tehran toward France.

The reality is that the shifting of relations between the two countries can have larger implications for the Iranian regime. Part of the reason is that France is still supporting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but recent comments from the France Foreign Minister indicates that Iran has not been open to further discussions to save the agreement.

Cannot avoid contentious issues

At a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers, Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s Foreign Minister, said, “Iran must respect the fundamentals of the JCPOA and I think that is the case, but Iran cannot avoid discussions, negotiations on three other major subjects that worry us.”

These areas include the future of Iran’s nuclear commitments after 2025, the ballistic missile question, and the role of Iran in stabilizing the region.

These comments came after Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that his country could scrap the JCPOA if it didn’t serve their national interests. He indicated that relations between Iran and Europe could continue, but that the nuclear deal was dead. With the U.S. pulling out and sanctions being renewed, it is clear that Iran’s relationships with various nations are being fractured.

JCPOA

The JCPOA in Vienna (Austria), the 14th of July 2015.

JCPOA future in doubt

For the foreign ministers, the JCPOA is a deal that gives sanction relief to Iran, while providing agreements regarding the development of a nuclear program in Iran. Although there appear to be questions about how truthful the Iranian government is regarding their end of the agreement, it is clear that without the U.S., the deal is essentially dead.

European countries have been unable to convince a large number of companies that they will be safe from U.S. sanctions if the continue to do business with Iran. There are questions of whether there is any workaround the sanctions and it appears that the options are limited.

Iran seems unwilling to come to talks with the U.S. and their threats have been reciprocated by the U.S. in comments from President Donald Trump. Critics of the JCPOA noted that the deal focuses narrowly on the nuclear issue without addressing the human rights abuses and violations throughout Iran.

Recently, the Iranian government arrested multiple individuals and charged them as spies. The crackdown comes as sanctions are being renewed to prevent Iran from funding various military operations and rebel groups that are involved in terrorist activities throughout the region.

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