Financial Tribune – A French senator called on President Emmanuel Macron to take a realistic approach to the Islamic Republic’s role in regional developments, describing Macron’s upcoming visit to Iran as “decisive”.
“This is a defining visit. The president must judge for himself the reality of this country to which all the evils are attributed. It is up to him to judge, without naivety, the reality of the only nation-state of the region and the will of the Iranians to respect or not to respect the nuclear agreement, largely supported by Europe,” Nathalie Goulet wrote in a recent note on her blog.
France is part of a US-led coalition that intervened in Syria’s conflict in support of the armed opposition groups seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
But Iran and Russia have forged an alliance to shore up Assad.
The two initiated a trilateral initiative a year ago with Turkey, a member of the coalition, to find a political settlement to the seven-year-old civil war.
“At a time when the Moscow-Tehran-Ankara axis is stronger than ever, France must not lose the opportunity. If today we can withdraw our forces from Syria, we must not forget to whom we owe this victory. The aerial bombardments of the coalition were decisive. However, the vital role of Kurdish and Iranian ground troops must not be underestimated,” Goulet said.
Both sides of the Syria conflict were also fighting to dislodge the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, which seized large parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq in a 2014 lightning attack.
The recapture of the two cities of Abu Kamal in Syria and Rawa in Iraq last month marked the end of the IS reign of terror in the two countries.
The French senator said US officials’ attempts to pin the blame for regional conflicts on Iran are reminiscent of the runup to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
“The France of Macron, no more than that of Jacques Chirac, will not be deceived by the lies fabricated by the Americans. The disastrous experience of the Iraqi invasion asks us to think … our position, that of France, will weigh all the more as our president is present on all the ground,” she said.
Macron has aligned himself with hawkish US President Donald Trump to call for new curbs on the Islamic Republic’s regional clout and missile program.
During a visit to Washington last week, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Paris and Washington are determined to “vigorously” raise pressure on Iran over its ballistic missile program, including possibly through sanctions.
“President Macron should speak directly with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, about all of these key issues related to peace and stability in the region and the world. The presidential trip to Iran in 2018 will undoubtedly be the most important step to complete, without stumbling, an exemplary 110-meter diplomatic hurdles,” Goulet added.