French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that Europe would not compromise with the United States over Washington’s move to reactivate sanctions on Iran, warning the so-called snapback could undermine the UN Security Council and increase Middle East tensions.
Macron assailed the “maximum pressure” policy of US President Donald Trump, saying it had failed to curb Tehran’s interference in the region or ensure it would not acquire a nuclear weapon.
“We will not compromise on the activation of a mechanism that the United States is not in a position to activate on its own after leaving the agreement,” Macron told the UN General Assembly’s 75th session by video from Paris.
“This would undermine the unity of the Security Council and the integrity of its decisions, and it would run the risk of further aggravating tensions in the region,” he warned.
The Trump administration says it is “snapping back” virtually all UN sanctions on Iran lifted under the nuclear accord with Tehran, negotiated under former president Barack Obama but which Trump abandoned in 2018.
Washington says it can reimpose the sanctions because it is still a “participant” in the accord, a position denounced by Europe as legally untenable. Trump has insisted that one of the inadequacies of the nuclear deal is the failure to address Iran’s ballistic missile program or its interventions in other Middle East countries.
If it’s Biden, that is the likely scenario, that would only have if there is some election shenanigans which is likely, in the end Trump and America is the victor, Iran and Macron will be sitting down!
— Debbie Aldrich 🇺🇸 (@DebbieAAldrich) September 22, 2020
In a nod to Washington, Macron said additional frameworks were needed for effectively dealing with the Iranian nuclear program, adding there needed to be a “capacity to complete” the 2015 accord. These would ensure that “we will provide responses to Iran’s ballistic activity, but also to its destabilization in the region.”
Macron insisted that France, along with its European allies Britain and Germany, would keep up its demand for “full implementation” of the Iran nuclear deal. He added that they would “not accept the violations committed by Iran,” which has ramped up its nuclear activity in response to the US withdrawal.
Macron has also been at loggerheads with Turkey over its hydrocarbon research activities in the eastern Mediterranean, which have increased tensions with its traditional rival Greece.
The French president has exchanged angry words with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, though the tone has moderated in recent days with all sides favoring dialogue. France is also fuming over Turkey’s military intervention in Libya.
“We respect Turkey, we are ready for dialogue with it, but we expect it to respect European sovereignty, international law and provide clarifications on its action in Libya, as in Syria,” Macron said.
Read more: Turkey and France: tensions escalate
In a clear reference to Erdogan’s tough talking, he added: “Insults are ineffective. And all these words and all these acts have no place in responsible relations between states.” Macron and Erdogan were due Tuesday to have their first telephone talks since the crisis in the eastern Mediterranean erupted.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk