Paris: Iran Threatens the 'Strategic Balance' in Gulf Region

French president Emmanuel Macron, left, greets Iranian president Hassan Rouhani at the Millenium Hotel in New York on September 18, 2017. Ludovic Marin / AFP
French president Emmanuel Macron, left, greets Iranian president Hassan Rouhani at the Millenium Hotel in New York on September 18, 2017. Ludovic Marin / AFP
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Paris: Iran Threatens the 'Strategic Balance' in Gulf Region

French president Emmanuel Macron, left, greets Iranian president Hassan Rouhani at the Millenium Hotel in New York on September 18, 2017. Ludovic Marin / AFP
French president Emmanuel Macron, left, greets Iranian president Hassan Rouhani at the Millenium Hotel in New York on September 18, 2017. Ludovic Marin / AFP

There is no prospect signaling that the French-Iranian relations could see possible breakthroughs following tension that erupted in the past few days due to the strong reactions expressed by Iranian officials, including Iranian Supreme Leader's senior advisor for international affairs Ali Akbar Velayati and commander of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Mohammad Ali Jafari, concerning Paris’ position from several disputed files with Tehran, such as the Nuclear Deal, the Iranian ballistic missile and Tehran’s policies in the region.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments on Wednesday from Abidjan further complicated relations between the two countries and made the upcoming official visit of the French president to Tehran early next year, less possible.

In an interview with France 24, Macron said there is a need to “discuss a strategy concerning the position of Iran in the region and to limit the current destabilizing activities of Tehran against a number of countries.”

Based on the presidential approach, it is clear that the French President holds Tehran responsible for those activities, which Macron says should stop.

The French leader had previously threatened Iran with sanctions if it continues to exert its worrying policies in the region, particularly through the files of the ballistic and Tehran’s regional policies.
Based on all those disputed issues, the French presidential visit to Tehran seems to be postponed, if not forgotten.

In his interview with France 24, Macron said he will visit Iran “at the right moment,” after he ensures there is a discussion and strategic accord over Tehran’s ballistic missile program and its destabilization activities in several regional countries.

French official sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Macron would not travel to Iran if he does not find a justification for the visit.

“Until now, the Iranians still refuse all the French proposals related to the completion of the Nuclear Deal, or discussion of the ballistic missile file, in addition to Iran’s behavior with the regional explosive files, including Yemen, Syria, Iraq and the security of the Gulf,” the sources said.

They said, “Iran threatens the regional strategic balance,” adding that the absence of equilibrium opens the door to several uncontrollable adventures in the region.

“Saudi Arabia is not the country threatening Iran,” the sources said. “Despite the disputes, Paris wants to continue an honest dialogue with Tehran.”

The sources said that Iran better accepts Paris’ proposals to prevent itself from facing threats from more than one front.



Fire at Hospital in Iran’s North Kills 9 Patients

The Iranian flag. (AFP)
The Iranian flag. (AFP)
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Fire at Hospital in Iran’s North Kills 9 Patients

The Iranian flag. (AFP)
The Iranian flag. (AFP)

A fire broke out at a hospital in Iran's north, killing nine patients, state media reported Tuesday.

The blaze started at 1:30 local time (2200GMT) at Qaem Hospital in the city of Rasht, some 330 kilometers (about 205 miles) northwest of the capital Tehran, state TV said, leaving six women and three men dead.

Chief of the city fire department, Shahram Momeni, said on state TV that an electric short circuit in the basement — which harbors the intensive care unit — malfunctioned, causing the fire.

Momeni said emergency workers rescued more than 140 people, patients and hospital staff, after being trapped because of the smoke, and that 120 of them were hospitalized in other medical facilities. He added that an investigation has been ordered.

A video posted online appeared to show smoke billowing from the hospital in the middle of the night.

Iranian media occasionally report on fires in hospitals and clinics that are mainly blamed on technical issues.

In 2020, an explosion from a gas leak in a medical clinic in northern Tehran killed 19 people.