Hollande: Iran an influential partner in regional stability

Tehran, Jan 5, IRNA — Iran is viewed as a partner in helping bring stability to certain countries of the region, French President François Hollande said on Monday.
Speaking in a two-hour interview on ‘France Inter’ radio, Hollande said that Iran could be influential in promoting stability in Syria and Iraq, KUNA reported.

‘We have a relationship with Iran. Are we going to arrive at an accord at the end of June’ with Iran, Hollande asked. ‘If there is not a clear notification by Iran to renounce nuclear weapons, there will be no agreement on the French side,’ he pointed out.

The question seems to be redundant because Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and its pacific nature has been confirmed by International Atomic Energy Agency.

‘At the same time, Iran is also a partner so there can be stability in Iraq and in Syria. For this, it would be better that there is a (nuclear) agreement,’ the president remarked.

Nuclear negotiators from Iran and the P5+1 — China, Russia, France, Britain, the US and Germany — ended their latest round of talks on Tehran’s nuclear program in the Swiss city of Geneva on December 17, 2014.

The three-day Geneva discussions were held almost three weeks after Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany failed to reach a final agreement by a November 24 deadline despite making some progress.

However, the two sides agreed to extend their discussions for seven more months until July 1. They also agreed that the interim deal they had signed in Geneva in November 2013 should remain in place during the negotiations.

In his interview, Hollande also touched on recent sanctions imposed on Russia, saying he wants Western sanctions on Moscow to be lifted if progress is made in talks on the Ukraine conflict this month.

He did not specify which sanctions — imposed by the EU, US and Canada — could be lifted. The sanctions began after Russia annexed Crimea in March.

Hollande said Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘doesn’t want to annex eastern Ukraine — he told me that’.

Germany’s vice-chancellor has also warned against further sanctions on Russia.

Sigmar Gabriel — a center-left politician like Hollande — said the sanctions were aimed at making Russia negotiate to resolve the Ukraine conflict. But some ‘forces’ in Europe and the US wanted sanctions to cripple Russia, which would ‘risk a conflagration’.

‘We want to help get the Ukraine conflict resolved, but not to push Russia onto its knees,’ he told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

Many EU countries rely on imports of Russian gas, so the sanctions have raised fresh concerns about energy security.

Russia’s retaliatory ban on most imported Western food and drink has also hurt many European businesses and economic hardship means fewer Russians are going on holiday in European resorts.

‘The sanctions must be lifted if there is progress. If there is no progress the sanctions will stay in place,’ Hollande told France Inter radio.



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