France: Iran deal can prevent Iran from acquiring nukes

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says France intends to remain in the Iran nuclear deal.

Ben Ariel ,

Jean-Yves Le Drian
Jean-Yves Le Drian

France intends to remain in the Iran nuclear deal and still believes that it can prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Sunday, according to Reuters.

“We think that the fight against nuclear non-proliferation is important and this agreement means that nuclear non-proliferation is possible because Iran will not go all the way to [build] nuclear weapons,” Le Drian was quoted as having told reporters in Dublin.

“We are stakeholders in the Vienna agreement and we are going to stay stakeholders,” he added.

Le Drian’s comments come after U.S. President Donald Trump announced last week that the U.S. would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

The European Union did not follow suit, however, and said it would remain in the agreement and will do so “as long as Iran continues to implement its nuclear related commitments, as it is doing so far.”

France has regularly said it is committed to the agreement but also proposed new EU sanctions targeting Iranians who support Syria’s government in that country’s civil war and Tehran’s ballistic missile program.

Le Drian has in the past expressed concerns about Tehran’s missile program, which was not covered by the nuclear deal, and its influence in the region.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday and reiterated that the Iranian deal’s European partners remain firmly committed to it.

“The Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s position that we and our European partners remain firmly committed to ensuring the Iran nuclear deal is upheld,” said a statement from May’s office released after the phone call.

“She said it is in both the UK and Iran’s national security interests to maintain the deal and welcomed president Rouhani’s public commitment to abide by its terms, adding that it is essential that Iran continues to meet its obligations,” added the statement.

May also made clear to Rouhani that “the UK condemns the Iranian missile attacks against Israeli forces and called on Iran to refrain from any further attacks,” the statement said.