0332 GMT January 23, 2018
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’ recent visit to Tehran was one of these cases.
Two previous constructive opportunities in Iran’s foreign policy including EU’s positive resolution on the country and the meeting between President Rouhani and British Prime Minister David Cameron at the UN in September were also undermined by hardliners through their media propaganda.
The trip by Fabius, who is the first top French diplomat visiting Tehran in more than a decade, was a good event. During the era of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the ground for developing ties with Europe was not paved; rather relations were strained.
France, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, is an important industrial country. France along with Germany and Britain are the leading members of the European Union. The politically important trip marks a new chapter in rebuilding bilateral ties whose positive results will be felt in future.
It is seen as a good mark that Rouhani’s foreign policy earned. That’s why opponents seek to damage the achievement.
Opposition to the visit came from hardliners who cited France sending HIV-infected blood supplies to Iran in the 1980s, when Fabius was prime minister and Iran was at war with Iraq. They were also angry over France’s perceived tough stance in the nuclear negotiations.
Some opponents were sincere in their opposition, but a large number of those who had been making a hue and cry in support of the HIV victims were neither concerned about Iran national interests nor had sympathy with the victims.
Opponents of boosting ties with Europe via official or semi-official forums are those who ignored patients with severe and incurable diseases and turned a blind eye to their difficulties in getting medicines when Iran was subject to the toughest ever sanctions. These people are the ones who downplayed cruel sanctions after they came into force, shrugging off the nation’s difficult condition.
They are now opposed to a nuclear agreement under which the sanctions are expected to be lifted.
Furthermore, in case of good relations with France and when bilateral ties are improved, there could be cooperation in curing acute diseases. The country could also import medicines from Germany and France instead of other sources.
Of course, we do not fully rely on Fabius and do not trust France hundred percent. Only simple people think of full trust in international arena. But it is logical to establish ties with the other states, influential countries in particular, in favor of national interests. Isolation shows weakness and inability.