French FM blames Iran for difficult relations, warns of sanctions

PARIS, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Wednesday laid the blame squarely at Iran’s feet for hampering efforts to move forward from the impasse in the nuclear file and to find alternative avenues to boost economic ties between the Europeans and Iran.

Speaking at the Foreign Affairs Commission of the French parliament, Le Drian also warned that the Europeans might invoke the “dispute resolution mechanism” that could lead to UN sanctions on Iran.

This activation of the mechanism would be the result of what Le Drian said were a “succession of actions” by Iran, whereby every two months they ratchet up” pressure by taking steps that violate the nuclear treaty, which the US has repudiated.

“We are asking ourselves today, and I say this very clearly, whether we should implement the dispute resolution mechanism set out in the Treaty … we haven’t done this yet,” he said.

But Iran is “progressively breaking away” from the Treaty, he warned.

Le Drian indicated that the steps taken by Iran to go outside the nuclear agreement signed in Vienna in 2015 were making things very difficult.

Nonetheless, he said the E3 countries were continuing dialogue with Tehran.

Le Drian remarked that the three European powers, Britain, Germany and France, were working in “full transparency and clarity” to arrive at a unified position on Iran and he rejected suggestions of divisions among the “E3.” The Europeans are “together on the de-escalation” with Iran and on “the security of the Gulf,” the French minister indicated.

Le Drian noted that the E3 had “attempted several steps on de-escalation” but they had not been accepted and these initiatives were now being withdrawn.

Le Drian also denied that “INSTEX”, the parallel trading mechanism with Iran, was dead, affirming, “The first transactions will take place in a few weeks.” But other factors that were not helping the situation included Iranian sponsored attacks against Saudi Arabia, the massive protests inside Iran and the jailing of French nationals by Tehran.

Source: Kuwait News Agency