Macron urges firm stance on Iran

French President says there's no alternative to Iran deal, but stresses the importance of taking a firm stance on its ballistic missiles.

Elad Benari ,

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday he wanted to remain firm with Iran regarding its ballistic missile program and influence in the Middle East, Reuters reports.

His comments were made in an interview with the United Arab Emirates-based al-Ittihad newspaper, which he gave during a two-day visit to the country.

In the interview, Macron repeated his country’s stance that there is no alternative to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

“At the same time, it is also important for us to remain firm with Iran with regard to its regional activities and its ballistic missile program,” Macron was quoted as saying.

EU member countries Britain, France and Germany remain firm backers of the Iran nuclear agreement and have criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for threatening to scrap it.

Trump recently refused to recertify Iran's compliance with the deal, leading France to warn that scrapping the deal would help hardliners and be a step towards future war.

In addition to its nuclear aspirations, Iran's ballistic missile program remains a concern as well. The Islamic Republic has several times test-fired ballistic missiles in recent months, raising the ire of the West.

The United States has already imposed sanctions on Iran, saying its missile tests violate UN resolutions. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has stressed that Iran will continue to produce missiles for its defense and does not consider that a violation of international agreements.

Macron's comments also dealt with the mounting tensions in Lebanon following the resignation of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and an attempted ballistic missile strike on Riyadh by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

“Today, more than ever, we need a region of peace and responsible regional actors working for the stability of the Middle East,” Macron said, according to Reuters.

“The opening of an additional front would only exacerbate tensions and further destabilize the region,” he warned.