France’s Macron Says U.S. Maximum Pressure on Iran Not Working

UNGA 2019. Source: Kayhan London

PARIS, Sept 22 (Reuters) – The United States’ maximum pressure campaign on Iran has so far failed, France’s president said on Tuesday, and he dismissed U.S. efforts to restore U.N. sanctions against Tehran because Washington had already left the 2015 nuclear deal.

“The maximum pressure strategy, which has been under way for several years, has not at this stage made it possible to end Iran‘s destabilising activities or to ensure that it will not be able to acquire nuclear weapons,” Emmanuel Macron said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

“This is why France, along with its German and British partners, will maintain its demand for the full implementation of the 2015 Vienna Agreement and will not accept the violations committed by Iran.”

The United States on Monday slapped new sanctions on Iran‘s defence ministry and others involved in its nuclear and weapons programmes in an effort to buttress the U.S. assertion that all United Nations sanctions against Tehran that were lifted under the 2015 accord have now been restored.

That move was rejected by key European allies – Britain, Germany and France – as well as U.S. adversaries such as Russia and China who are all parties to the nuclear agreement.

Macron said he could not support the approach of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.

“We will not compromise on the activation of a (sanctions) mechanism that the United States on its own, leaving the agreement, is not in a position to activate,” he said.

“This would undermine the unity of the Security Council, the integrity of its decisions and it would run the risk of further aggravating tensions in the region.”

He repeated previous comments that within the 2015 deal, a framework needed to be added to ensure Iran never acquired nuclear weapons and which dealt with Iran‘s ballistic missile programme and regional destabilising activities.

In his address to the General Assembly, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the United States could impose “neither negotiations nor war” on the Islamic Republic.

Trump wants a broader agreement with Tehran that would further restrict Iran’s nuclear programme, halt its ballistic missile development work and end its support for proxy forces around the Middle East.

(Reporting by John Irish and Michel Rose Editing by Mark Heinrich)