Saturday

10th Dec 2016

France speaks out for EU sanctions on Iran

  • Hollande also called for UN protection of "safe zones" for rebels in Syria and for aid to African troops fighting Islamists in Mali (Photo: elysee.fr)

The French leader and French foreign minister have spoken out in favour of new EU sanctions against Iran.

French President Francois Hollande told press after his first-ever speech at the UN's annual meeting in New York, that Iran is "continuing its programme of [uranium] enrichment" and that "France cannot accept this action which threatens regional security. With our European partners, we are, therefore, ready to impose new sanctions."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He added that the new measures are not designed "to punish the Iranian population, but to bring them [the Iranian government] back to the negotiating table."

Earlier on during his UN speech, he also accused Iran of helping the Syrian government to butcher civilians.

"It is clear that we have all the proof we need that Iran is intervening by human and material means in Syria, and this is unacceptable," Hollande noted.

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius told Reuters in the margins of the UN event that the new sanctions will be "on the financial and trade side."

Back in Brussels, the French press agency AFP cited an anonymous EU diplomat as saying the UK wants to see a "full freeze on Iran's central bank, on all its financial transactions" and "a wide sectoral ban on shipping."

AFP's contacts added that "most member states are largely supportive" of the plan, but that France itself, Germany, Spain and Sweden want to stop short of a full-blown trade embargo on the Middle East power.

The previous round of EU sanctions, imposed on 1 July, included an oil ban and forbade transactions with the Iranian central bank. But the bank ban allowed EU countries to do business with it if it relates to trade in other areas, such as food or textiles.

For its part, Iran believes it has shown good faith by resuming international talks on the nuclear issue earlier this year.

It also says the UN's Vienna-based non-proliferation watchdog, the IAEA, has not put forward any evidence that its nuclear enrichment work is aimed at making weapons.

EU contacts previously told EUobserver that the international talks, which are chaired by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, have begun addressing some key issues, such as the closure of one enrichment facility in Fordow. But they added that Iran is wasting time on debating the format of the talks themselves. "They are masters of obfuscation," one source said.

US President Barack Obama in his UN address also on Tuesday noted that the Iranian programme could lead to war.

He said that "a nuclear armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained" and that the US would "do what it must" to stop it from getting the bomb.

The EU sanctions decision is due on 15 October.

News in Brief

  1. Council of Europe critical of Turkey emergency laws
  2. Italian opposition presses for anti-euro referendum
  3. Danish MP wants warning shots fired to deter migrants
  4. Defected Turkish officers to remain in Greece
  5. Most child asylum seekers are adults, says Denmark
  6. No school for children of 'illegal' migrants, says Le Pen
  7. Ombudsman slams EU Commission on tobacco lobbying
  8. McDonald's moves fiscal HQ to UK following tax probe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Use Bioenergy Coming From Forests in a Sustainable Way?
  2. Counter BalanceReport Reveals Corrupt but Legal Practices in Development Finance
  3. Swedish EnterprisesMEPs and Business Representatives Debated on the Future of the EU at the Winter Mingle
  4. ACCASets Out Fifty Key Factors in the Public Sector Accountants Need to Prepare for
  5. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  6. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  7. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  9. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  10. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  11. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  12. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First