Mutual Dialogue Crucial to Regional Peace

France recognizes the role of the IRGC’s Quds Force in defeating the self-styled Islamic State terror group
Emanuel MacronEmanuel Macron

French President Emanuel Macron underscored the need to uphold diplomacy and dialogue in efforts to settle regional conflicts.

“We need to step up efforts to establish and bolster calm, peace and stability in the region through expanding our cooperation and contacts,” Macron was quoted by IRNA as saying in a phone talk with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, on Tuesday.

He reaffirmed his defense of the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the six major powers, which is struggling to survive in the face of the US rising bellicosity.

“France remains fully committed to the implementation of the JCPOA and considers it to be in the interest of global peace and stability,” the French leader said, using an abbreviation that stands for the formal title of the landmark deal, namely the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

It was meant to settle Tehran’s decade-long dispute with the West over its nuclear program by scaling that program down in return for Iran’s relief from international sanctions.

French officials have publicly opposed a demand by US President Donald Trump to renegotiate the action plan, meanwhile trying to appease him by echoing his call for new curbs on Tehran’s non-nuclear activities, including its missile development and regional operations.

Iranian officials deny allegations against Tehran’s missile activities, stressing that the program is purely defensive in nature and part of a deterrence doctrine.

Trump has pushed for his non-nuclear concerns regarding Iran to be addressed through amendments to the UN-backed nuclear deal.

Tehran and other signatories to the deal have ruled out a renegotiation of the pact, highlighting the commitment made by all parties to limit the scope of the nuclear deal.

France has raised the need for talks over those non-nuclear issues under a separate mechanism from the nuclear negotiations.

But Macron, in his Tuesday remarks, acknowledged the constructive contributions of the Quds Force, the external wing of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, to the counter-terrorism campaign.

“We do not deny the role of Quds Force in defeating Daesh and we thank it for its presence [in conflict zones].”

Daesh is an Arabic acronym for the self-styled Islamic State, the most hated terrorist group that was forced out of Iraq and Syria last month in wars that lasted nearly three years and drew in both regional and non-regional powers.

Rouhani reiterated the Islamic Republic’s stance that it would leave the deal once it is found to have ceased to serve Iran’s national interests.

“We will adhere to the action plan as long as we feel we are reaping its benefits,” he said.

He asked Macron to act against the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization terror group working against the Islamic Republic from Paris.

“We expect the French government to fulfill its legal responsibility with regard to the fight against terrorism and violence by confronting this terrorist group,” Rouhani said.

Macron vowed not to allow the terrorist group to use France as a base for anti-Iran activities.

The talks between the two presidents came against a backdrop of ongoing demonstrations in several Iranian cities, prompted mainly by economic hardships.

In a separate phone call, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Rouhani that his side attaches high importance to security and stability in neighboring Iran and called on the protestors to avoid violence and seek to express their demands through peaceful means.

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