Wed, 29 Mar 2023

French President Emmanuel Macron denounced on Thursday the "headlong rush" of Iran's nuclear programme after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in Paris to seek a stronger European stance against Tehran.

In a statement released after a dinner meeting in the Elysee Palace, Macron warned that Tehran continuing with the atomic project "would inevitably have consequences".

Israel has long accused Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon, while Tehran insists its nuclear programme is aimed solely at generating energy.

Netanyahu hopes Iran's role in supplying drones to Russian invaders in Ukraine, as well as its crackdown on protests at home, will prompt Western allies to drop any pursuit of a revival of the 2015 atomic programme deal.

'Ukraine card'

The Prime Minister has also said Israel is considering sending military aid to Ukraine, apparently dropping its more neutral stance over the conflict in the hope of securing a more confrontational Western position towards Tehran.

By "playing the Ukraine card", Netanyahu hopes to "consolidate an anti-Iranian front" with the West, said David Khalfa at the Fondation Jean Jaures, a Paris-based think tank.

He hopes for "increased sanctions against Iran and the full addition of the Revolutionary Guards to the list" of sanctioned entities, Khalfa added - a step both France and Germany have so far resisted.

France agrees that "firmness" is needed in dealings with Iran, a diplomatic source told French news agency AFP, saying the nuclear programme had reached "a dangerous point" and highlighting Tehran's role in the Ukraine war.

Iran slams EU Parliament for proposal to brand Revolutionary Guard as terrorists French, Israeli leaders meet in Paris as violence spikes in Gaza, West Bank

Siding with Ukraine is not without risk for Netanyahu, as Russian air defences deployed in neighbouring Syria could be turned against Israeli aircraft during their occasional raids on Iranian interests there.

Iran also holds several foreign citizens who are considered political hostages by Western governments.

Macron's office said before the get-together that the French leader would also "reiterate the need for all sides to avoid measures likely to feed the cycle of violence" between Israelis and Palestinians, while offering "France's solidarity with Israel in the face of terrorism".

Staying in France until Saturday, Netanyahu is also set to meet French business chiefs and leaders of the country's Jewish community, the Israeli embassy said.

(with AFP)

Originally published on RFI

More Iran News

Access More

Sign up for The Iran News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!