Macron: Iran policy cannot only consist of sanctions

By Hajer M'tiri

PARIS (AA) – The relationship with Iran cannot be reduced to a "sanctions policy", French President Emmanuel Macron warned the U.S. on Wednesday.

In his speech before the UN Security Council, Macron said: "We must build together a long-term strategy for the management of this crisis that cannot be reduced to a policy of sanctions and confinement [of Iran]."

Macron said while the 2015 nuclear deal is "imperfect", it ensures that Iran would not be able to obtain nuclear weapons.

Since the deal was signed, the "paths of the signatories of the JCPOA have diverged… but we still, all of us here, retain the same objective of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and guaranteeing strict international control on the peaceful use of their nuclear program," the French leader told the council.

"We are all keeping the same objective around this table; to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," he said, calling for "new negotiations on the Iranian nuclear framework beyond 2025-2030, on the issue of Iran's increase in the range and accuracy of its missile arsenal… and on regional stability."

Macron pointed to the particular to the risks of access to missiles by Lebanese Hezbollah and Houthi rebels in Yemen — both supported by Iran.

"In the Middle East, the ballistic assistance provided to Hezbollah and the Houthis is a new and worrying development and must stop before these entities do not seriously destabilize a region under tension," he said.

The French president also said the newly introduced U.S. sanctions have created a “serious crisis of confidence”, but that Tehran continues to abide by its nuclear obligation.

In May, Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew his country from a landmark nuclear deal signed in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany).

He later reinstated U.S. sanctions on Tehran, which had been lifted under the terms of the agreement in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear energy program.

The sanctions are expected to impact Iranian oil exports, which provide Tehran with the revenue needed to finance its national budget.

However, Macron hailed Trump's "efforts" to convince the North Korea to give up the atomic weapons, and in the meantime, urged caution on the issue and asked Pyongyang to take “concrete” steps.

He said: "At no time should the Security Council forget that North Korea continues to pose a nuclear and ballistic threat to the region and to the world."

"France expects from Pyongyang concrete gestures demonstrating its real willingness to engage in a process of dismantling its nuclear and ballistic program in a complete, verifiable and irreversible way," the leader underscored.

"In the expectation of these actions, the dialogue must be accompanied by a rigorous application of the sanctions decided by this Council," Macron added.