Iranian nuclear: Paris and Washington increase pressure on Tehran

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The United States and France warned Iran’s new power on Friday. If Tehran wants to return to the Vienna nuclear agreement, the authorities will have to quickly take “courageous and strong decisions”.

Westerners’ patience has its limits. On Friday, June 25, the United States and France warned the new Iranian authorities that time was running out to save the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA), calling on them to take “courageous and strong decisions”.

A week after the election of the ultra-conservative Ebrahim Raïssi to the presidency of Iran, the head of the American diplomacy Antony Blinken, visiting Paris, affirmed that it would be “very difficult” for the United States to return to the agreement if the current negotiations were to drag on.

“There will come a time when, yes, it will be very difficult to return to the standards set by the JCPOA,” he said at a joint press conference with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves le Drian.

The head of French diplomacy, whose country is a co-signatory of the agreement with Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia and China, for his part urged Tehran to take a decisive step in favor of a rescue of the JCPOA.

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“We expect the Iranian authorities to take the last decisions, no doubt difficult, which will allow to conclude” the negotiations initiated in Vienna, he said, while expressing a “moderate optimism but of a optimism anyway “.

“This is the moment. We are coming to the end of the process. We are reaching the hard phase” which “will require courageous and strong decisions”, he insisted.

“Act together”

The JCPOA offers Iran relief from Western and UN sanctions in exchange for its commitment never to acquire atomic weapons. It implies a drastic reduction in its nuclear program, placed under strict UN control.

But this agreement was torpedoed in 2018 by the decision of former US President Donald Trump to withdraw from it and reinstate US sanctions. In response, Iran has renounced part of its commitments.

Upon arriving at the White House in January, Joe Biden announced his intention to return to the deal. Negotiations resumed in April in the Austrian capital between the signatory countries to define the framework for this return.

On Friday, France and the United States also showed their willingness to put pressure on the Lebanese political class in order to get the country out of a unprecedented economic and financial crisis.

“We see together the tragedy that this country would crack, disappear. We have decided to act together to put pressure on those responsible. We know them,” said Jean-Yves Le Drian. “We need real leadership in Beirut,” said Antony Blinken.

President Emmanuel Macron has been heavily involved, so far without success, to obtain the formation of a government capable of implementing the reforms demanded by the international community in exchange for new aid.

Support for Barkhane

The United States also reaffirmed its unwavering support for France in its fight against jihadism in the Sahel, at a time when Paris announces a reduction and a reorganization of its military presence in the region.

“We have been the closest partners and this partnership will continue,” assured the US Secretary of State. The United States is providing invaluable intelligence assistance to the Barkhane force, which has more than 5,000 troops on the ground.

The two officials also played down their differences over NATO’s role vis-à-vis China, the main threat in the world in the eyes of the United States. Washington wants to see the Alliance become more involved in this strategic issue, unlike Paris. “We have decided to coordinate” in the responses to be given to China, simply replied Jean-Yves Le Drian.

The two ministers showed their pleasure in exchanging together in French – Antony Blinken, who lived part of his youth in Paris, is perfectly French-speaking.

“Here, you are a bit at home. I would be tempted to say: welcome home!” Jean-Yves Le Drian told him. “Allow me to say how happy I am to find myself in France, a second homeland for me,” replied his counterpart.

Antony Blinken, 59, arrived in France as a child. He spent the 1970s there with his mother, remarried to lawyer Samuel Pisar, one of the youngest survivors of the Shoah.

With AFP

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