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Signs of Tension Between Paris, Tehran

Signs of Tension Between Paris, Tehran

Saturday, 18 November, 2017 - 07:30

French sources refused on Friday to speak about “the emergence of a “crisis” between France and Iran after Tehran had responded on the comments of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian who accused it of “hegemonic” ambitions and of intervening in regional crises.

The Iranian response to the French minister was quick on Friday through Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi, who accused Paris of “inciting struggles in the region.”

Le Drian’s comments against Tehran came Thursday during his trip to Saudi Arabia aimed at resolving a crisis sparked by the shock resignation earlier this month of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Ghassemi said: "Unfortunately it seems that France has a biased and partisan approach to the crises in the region and this approach, whether intentionally or not, is even contributing to turning potential crises into real ones."

The spokesperson also considered the concerns expressed by France “as flying in the face of regional realities and as being addressed to the wrong side.”

Escalation between the two countries comes as the French Foreign Minister prepares a visit to Tehran.

However, it looks that the upcoming trip, expected at the end of November, might be postponed.

Informed sources at the French foreign ministry spoke about holding the visit at the end of this year, and linked the delay to the need of finding a date that “suits both sides.”

In fact, relations between both capitals have deteriorated, although French sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday that Tehran remains a “partner” and that Paris desires to continue its cooperation with Iran.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his readiness to “hold talks” with Iran despite accusing France of being “biased.”

Speaking from the Swedish city of Gothenburg, the French President said Iran misunderstood France’s “balanced” position in the region, adding, “it's in everyone's interest to keep calm, and find an equilibrium.”

Macron also said that Tehran should be less aggressive in the region and that he wanted Iran to clarify the strategy around its ballistic missile program.

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