President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron condemned the attempt by the Houthi militias to target Riyadh in a telephone call with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Al Arabiya reports. The French president expressed the solidarity and support of the French Republic with the Kingdom against any threat to its security after Houthi militias targeted the city of Riyadh with a ballistic missile.
President Macron also stressed the necessity of working to confront Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region. He reiterated his country’s clear position on Iran’s destructive role and their support of the militias by providing them ballistic missile technology to attack the Kingdom and destabilize in the region.
The French President thanked King Salman and the Government of the Kingdom for their efforts in combating terrorism as well as their efforts to root out their funding, highlighting the Kingdom’s recent efforts in the Sahel region of Africa.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi slammed remarks made by French President Emmanuel Macron about the Islamic Republic last month and said the issue and other realities of the Middle East region were raised in recent bilateral talks in Paris. Speaking at his weekly press conference in Tehran on Monday, Qassemi pointed to Macron’s anti-Tehran remarks in November and said:
“Each (French) administration has its own characteristics.”
The spokesman went on to say that Macron’s anti-Tehran comments have received their responses from Iran. He further pointed to the fourth round of political talks between the Islamic Republic and the Western European country in Paris last week, and said in the talks, Iran reminded the French side that they should get more informed of the realities in the region, understand Iran’s regional role, and avoid adopting stances aimed at appeasing others.
Qasemi said French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Iran is on the agenda of the two countries, but no date has been specified for it. Underlining that relations between Iran and France are positive and the trend will continue in the future, he said no conditions have been placed over talks and meetings with French diplomatic delegations.
“Unfortunately, French officials are sometimes influenced by Iran’s enemies; some of their postions are wrong; and we can inform them about the realities in the region during bilateral talks,” he said.
Qasemi noted that Iran has called on France not to be swayed by the wrong policies pursued by the US and those who promote the Iranophobia project. He also called on the new French government to understand the significance of Iran and avoid making mistakes to appease certain countries.
“Especially in the time that the United States is pushing for wrong policies, Europeans must be more careful about the position they take,” Qasemi said, adding that “we will be explicitly discussing Iran’s positions in the negotiations, and will recall how Iran has held a very influential and positive role in countering terrorism and in creating peace and stability in the region, ensuring the security not only in the region, but also in Europe.
Meanwhile, a French senator called on President Emmanuel Macron to take a realistic approach to the Islamic Republic’s role in regional developments, describing Macron’s upcoming visit to Iran as “decisive”.
“This is a defining visit. The president must judge for himself the reality of this country to which all the evils are attributed. It is up to him to judge, without naivety, the reality of the only nation-state of the region and the will of the Iranians to respect or not to respect the nuclear agreement, largely supported by Europe,” Nathalie Goulet wrote in a recent note on her blog.
France is part of a US-led coalition that intervened in Syria’s conflict in support of the armed opposition groups seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad. But Iran and Russia have forged an alliance to shore up Assad. The two initiated a trilateral initiative a year ago with Turkey, a member of the coalition, to find a political settlement to the seven-year-old civil war.
“At a time when the Moscow-Tehran-Ankara axis is stronger than ever, France must not lose the opportunity. If today we can withdraw our forces from Syria, we must not forget to whom we owe this victory. The aerial bombardments of the coalition were decisive. However, the vital role of Kurdish and Iranian ground troops must not be underestimated,” Goulet said.
The French senator said U.S. officials’ attempts to pin the blame for regional conflicts on Iran are reminiscent of the runup to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
“The France of Macron, no more than that of Jacques Chirac, will not be deceived by the lies fabricated by the Americans. The disastrous experience of the Iraqi invasion asks us to think … our position, that of France, will weigh all the more as our president is present on all the ground,” she said.