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Iran, France to Swap Envoys After Diplomatic Dispute

Iran, France to Swap Envoys After Diplomatic Dispute Iran, France to Swap Envoys After Diplomatic Dispute

Iran and France are set to exchange ambassadors, officials said on Wednesday, after months of tensions, including over an alleged Iranian plot to carry out a bomb attack on a dissident rally near Paris and French officials’ interfering remarks about Tehran’s defense programs.
Bahram Qasemi, a former envoy to Spain and Italy and current spokesman of Iran’s Foreign Ministry, has been appointed as Iran’s new ambassador to France, an official source in Tehran told AFP.
In Paris, the Official Gazette on Wednesday said Philippe Thiebaud, a former envoy to Pakistan who once represented France at the UN atomic watchdog, has been appointed ambassador to Iran.
Qasemi and Thiebaud will fill the post that had been vacant for more than six months after a series of diplomatic fallouts between France and Iran broke out last year.
The previous French ambassador left Iran at the end of his mandate in August while Tehran’s envoy left Paris last summer before finishing his term. No official reason was given for his abrupt departure.
In June, France accused a branch of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry of attempting to bomb a meeting of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization, an anti-Iranian terror group, near Paris.
Tehran vehemently denied the accusations and in return slammed France for hosting the group known in Iran as a “terrorist cult of hypocrites.”

 

 

Strained Ties 

Relations between France and Iran have been strained over demands by Paris that Iran limit its ballistic missiles program, which Tehran says is purely defensive.
Iran accepted curbs on its nuclear program under a landmark 2015 deal with major powers, namely Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, that lifted sanctions on Iran.
In May, the United States withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.
France and other European partners to the deal have been trying to salvage the nuclear accord and set up a payment mechanism to maintain trade and business ties with Iran by circumventing the US sanctions.
However, Tehran has accused them of dragging their feet. It has also criticized France for selling advanced warplanes and other weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which are being used in a violent military campaign against Yemeni people and civilian infrastructure.

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