0625 GMT December 07, 2019
The trip of French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to Iran can play an influential role in cementing bilateral ties.
Tehran-Paris ties were adversely impacted after the imposition of anti-Iran sanctions. However, the conclusion of a nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 in 2015 which was followed by the removal of sanctions in January 2016 turned over a new leaf as the European nation decided to provide a fresh impetus to mutual relations.
Presently, France as one of the powerful European nations, and Iran as an influential country in the Middle East, can be reliable partners in cultural, economic and political fields.
The enormous cultural capacities of the two nations can be a driving force for boosting future cooperation.
Prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the first group of scholarship students was dispatched to France. Paris-Tehran economic and industrial cooperation has also been at high levels since the Islamic Revolution’s victory.
Ayrault traveled to the Iranian capital at the head of an economic delegation. The Islamic Republic’s high capacities have lured French businessmen and traders.
Iran, with its 80-million population and educated human resources, has caught the attention of France and its European rivals.
European nations had been deprived of taking advantage of Iran’s lucrative markets due to the sanctions. Nonetheless, France, as one of the P5+1 members, seeks to preserve the nuclear deal to benefit from trade transactions with Iran.
French companies, particularly the country’s private sector, are interested in establish long-term economic ties with the Islamic Republic. Hence, Paris is strongly defending the JCPOA.
Meanwhile, efforts are needed to assuage concerns of big French banks to help strengthen bilateral economic bonds.
Ayrault also held political talks with Iranian officials during his trip. Iran’s influential role in the Middle East, in particular after clinching the JCPOA, has pushed France to adopt a more convergent approach toward Iran.
Terrorism has eclipsed the region over the past years. European countries including France are reeling from the consequences of the gloomy phenomenon.
As a result, France which pays special attention to developments in the Middle East — in particular to Syria and Lebanon — is making efforts to enhance ties with Iran as a key regional player.
* Hamid-Reza Asefi was Iran’s former ambassador to France.