French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will travel to Tehran next week to reaffirm Europe’s commitment to the Iran nuclear deal, amid threats from Donald Trump to tear the deal apart.
Barack Obama, The former US leader, was behind the historic Iran nuclear deal with P5+1 powers, agreed upon last year, which saw Tehran agree to amend its nuclear output in order to lift all nuclear-related economic sanctions, freeing up tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue and frozen assets.
After lifting the sanctions, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani visited Europe and made deals that worth billions of dollars. European companies started looking for investment opportunities in the growing Iranian market.
However, Trump’s election might change the whole game and threaten the development that was built in the past months.
Trump has said during his election campaign that the deal as “disastrous” and said it would be his “number one priority” to dismantle it.
“It is hard to believe a president of the United States would actually put his name on an agreement with the terrorist state Iran that is so bad, so poorly constructed and so terribly negotiated that it increases uncertainty and reduces security for America and our allies, including Israel,” Trump said previously.
These threats became clearer after Trump’s inauguration, as he signed an executive order temporarily barring thousands from seven countries in the Middle East and Africa, including Iran, from obtaining visas to travel to the United States.
France sends reassuring messages
In addition to Iran and the US, there are four other signatories – the UK, France, China and Russia, all of whom are convinced that the deal is important and valuable.
According to the French Foreign Ministry, Ayrault will arrive in the Iranian capital on Monday to participate in a session of Iran-France joint economic commission, which is slated to be held with the participation of the two countries’ officials. Some 50 French firms are said to participate in the forum on Tuesday.
French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal made the announcement during a daily briefing in Paris on Friday, adding that Ayrault would “underline the importance that all sides which backed the deal strictly respect their commitments.”
“That the Iranians have been destabilized by Trump’s election and statements is certain and I think they must be worried,” a French diplomatic source said.
“But developing commercial ties strengthens the moderates in Iran. We want to reinforce them to show the population that the deal is good for them because the radicals won’t be able to say that they have got nothing from it.”
During Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s historic visit to Paris in January last year, Iran and France signed a series of basic trade deals worth billions of dollars. France’s conglomerate plane maker Airbus, the multinational integrated oil and gas company Total, and automobile manufacturers Peugeot and Renault have already signed deals with Tehran.
The French company Total signed a deal to further develop Iran’s part of the world’s largest gas field and avoided the US sanctions by financing the deal with euros, reflecting France’s interest in investing in the growing Iranian market despite the US’s threats.
However, Despite the sanction relief, including on banking restrictions, Iran continues to struggle to access Western finance, partly due to banks’ fears about penalties related to remaining U.S. sanctions.