Relations between Iran and France have gone through vicissitudes since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
France’s support for the regime of the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hossein (during the war between Iran and Iraq in 1980-88) and the presence of MKO terrorists in France have overshadowed bilateral ties.
However, the initiative by the European nation to expand Tehran-Paris ties in the wake of the lifting of sanctions heralds a major breakthrough.
In line with such an initiative, French automakers resumed cooperation with their Iranian counterparts. A deal for purchasing passenger planes from Airbus, as well as agreements for cooperation in the oil field are among major developments between the two nations.
Meanwhile, the trip of French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to Tehran has given significance to bilateral political and economic ties.
Ayrault traveled to Iran at the head of an economic delegation, but he held political talks with Iranian officials over a range of issues including the Syria crisis and the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The Syria crisis and the results of the Astana talks are very sensitive for France.
French officials may be interested in broadening their perspective of regional developments by holding talks with Iranians.
Amid calls by US Republicans to weaken the agreement, in a joint press conference, Foreign Minister Ayrault defended the JCPOA.
It seems that the stances of US President Donald Trump, particularly since he took the helm of the Oval Office on January 20, will cause concern for both Iran and Europe.
Trump’s recent executive order to prohibit citizens of seven countries from visiting the US, and hailing Britain for leaving the European Union are among such concerns.
The recent meeting between Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May has somewhat reduced Europe’s concerns with regard to NATO.
However, Trump’s determination to boost ties with Russia still worries Europeans.
Besides, Europe’s allies are unaware of the impact of Trump’s decisions in the future.
The US president has vowed to fight against terrorism, but Europe is worried that his measures will fuel tensions rather than assuage them, and will pose bigger threats to the Green Continent.
Trump’s approach indicates that the US will not establish cordial ties with Europe under his presidency.
Amid such concerns, opportunities have been created
for Iran and the European nations, particularly France, to boost their cooperation.
Iran, the Middle East and Europe will take advantage of such cooperation.
* Abdolreza Faraji-Rad is a former Foreign Ministry official.