Iran Daily: Tehran Rebuffs France Over Missiles and Nuclear Deal

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi (File)

Iran has pushed back against French President Emmanuel Macron over the July 2015 nuclear agreement and the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program.

Macron unsettled the Iranian regime on Thursday when, en route to a quickly-arranged visit to Saudi Arabia, he said he was “very concerned”: “There are negotiations we need to start on Iran’s ballistic missiles.”

The French President condemned Tehran for the firing of a missile last weekend by the Ansar Allah (Houthi) movement, which controls much of Yemen, on Riyadh International Airport. Tehran, which supports the Houthis politically in the Yemen civil war, denies any military involvement.

For months the Rouhani Government has been courting the European Union and its members — especially Britain, Germany, and France, three of the 5+1 Powers who signed the nuclear agreement with Iran — to counter the hardening line of the Trump Administration.

But on Saturday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi was firm in his rejection of Macron’s statement: “France is…completely aware of our country’s stance that Iran’s defensive affairs are not negotiable.”

In a significant rewriting of Macron’s remarks, Iran said the French President had called for the renegotiation of the nuclear deal: “We have repeatedly told French officials that the JCPOA [the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] is not negotiable and other issues will not be included in it.”

In a comment to EA on Friday, the office of France’s Ambassador to the US, Gerard Araud, made clear that Macron was not calling for the reopening of discussions on the JCPOA. Instead, it said Macron wanted negotiations of the ballistic missile issue alongside the nuclear agreement.

Trump Administration officials have told the US media that they want to reopen talks on the provisions of the JCPOA, including additional language to cover ballistic missiles. Last month French officials supported Iran in the rejection of such an approach.

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  1. Michael Gove admits he “doesn’t know” what Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was doing in Iran

    The Iranian woman, who is reportedly deteriorating in prison, worked for Reuters and before that for the BBC spearheading a “journalist training course” to use local journalists to provide news for the BBC. Iran’s judiciary suspects this was part of a propaganda project to overthrow the government in the same manner as the BBC helped do in 1953 with the CIA-sponsored Operation Ajax.

    • 1. Anglo-Iranian dual national
      2. She works for Thomson Reuters charity which has nothing to do with journalism training
      3. She worked for BBC on outreach program which was not specifically about journalist training.
      4. Iran’s judiciary is holding her as a political prisoner — it has nothing to do with a regime change plot.
      5. Gove is a nasty, short-sighted politician who has been rightly criticized for his comment.

      • A few points rarely mentioned:

        1. ZR has signed confessions of guilt which militate against any early release:
        Homa Hoodfar, a Canadian-Iranian professor of social anthropology who shared a cell with Zaghari-Ratcliffe for a night in June 2016, told the Observer of the stress she was under.

        The encounter was around the time of Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s daughter’s birthday and she had been promised that she would be released if she signed some documents. “Because of that promise,” said Hoodfar, “she signed a series of [confession] documents that she shouldn’t have. Nazanin was under a lot of stress.”

        2. Looking away for a moment from the traditional Britzie penchant for régime-change in its escaped Persian colony, this may not be about politics at all — the long-running efforts of Britzie régime rascals to bilk Iran in business may be one such matter creating the perceived need for hostages in the first place:
        What’s clear is there is a deal to be done: this is about money. In 2010, European courts ordered Britain to pay £400m which it owes from uncompleted business deals stretching back to the Shah’s time.

        3. Since Boris’ verbal blunder ZR has been hauled back before the Old Iranian Beak to face new charges, so it appears quite likely she will receive a boosted sentence, resulting in proportionately inflamed popular outrage back in Blighty and the clod-hopping Bounder will be forced to fall on his own sword, also neatly fulfilling the Curse of Assad, which dooms any NATO aggressor politico who has publicly stated “Assad must go!” to first surrender public office himself. Hence a twofer for IRGC.

        4. Once the May régime then collapses in disarray and reasonable chap Corby becomes PM, the arrears will be coughed up and ZR will be back home within a week.

        • Point 1 is correct. Point 3 is probably correct about the increased charge and IRGC motive, albeit with the irrelevance of the Assad reference.

          Point 2 is wrong. I wish for the outcome of Point 4 re Nazanin’s release, but given the speculative basis for it, I fear it may not be so.

              • Oh, really?

                1. This report from 2010 confirms in lavish & [for Britzie régime exceedingly] embarrassing detail that it resoundingly lost the case brought by Iran before The International Chamber of Commerce in an arbitration concluded in 2009:

                2. In 2014 the Iranians were still pursuing the welshing Britz through the High Court of London for an outstanding £390+ million, at which point they glommed onto the excuse of “muh sanctions”:
                An MoD spokesman said: “No money will paid to Iran while EU sanctions remain in place. Settlement negotiations between International Military Services Ltd and the Iranian regime are ongoing and no agreement has yet been reached.”

                3. “On 16 January 2016 (Implementation Day of the [JCPOA] agreement), the [European] Council lifted all nuclear-related economic and financial EU sanctions against Iran“:
                … at which point there was no longer even the whiff of a legal pretext for MoD not to do what it should by all rights have done 37 years earlier, as I am sure FM Zarif was not slow to remind them …

                4. By pure coincidence then, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained in Iran on 3 April 2016.

                5. Seven months into her incarceration Richard Ratcliffe seemed convinced his wife was being held for the ransom in this matter, reserving some choice words on the dishonourable position of the intransigent Britzie régime:

                6. Conclusion: even if Mr Ratcliffe has by now, a year later, been ‘strongly advised’ by the Bounder Boris, natch, to shut up on this unedifying angle, it very much appears that Iran has yet to receive one penny of its 37-years overdue refund from the systematically swindling Limeys, unless someone produces evidence to the contrary.

              • I have got tremendous respect for Richard Ratcliffe and all that he is doing. My response was to your reduction of Nazanin’s case to a bit of payback for British financial mistreatment of the regime, not to the claim in his letter.

                The Chieftains tank deal may be in play here, but the motives for seizing of dual nationals are well beyond a single financial transaction.

      • 1. Iran does not recognize dual nationality.
        2. Her work at Reuters is not why she was arrested.
        3. She worked for BBC Media Action between February 2009 and October 2010.
        4. She was convicted for running “a BBC Persian online journalism course which was aimed at recruiting and training people to spread propaganda against Iran”:

        Anyway, I hope she is released on compassionate grounds. But that doesn’t excuse her of her past activities which may not have been formally declared.

        • Bottom line: there has been no evidence produced to support the charge — because this is a political prosecution/persecution.

          You want to ride on the back of the persecution of a wife, mother of a toddler, and — by all accounts — compassionate and thoughtful person and justify it? Fine, but don’t expect any quarter from me over the malevolence of your effort.

          ADDENDUM: Normally I would not go to this length to respond to misinformation and propaganda, but allow me to explain why I am not posting your reply to the above two paragraphs.

          Your self-absolving “I never wanted to see Nazanin in jail” is a hypocritical cover for your protracted defense of her prosecution and conviction without a shred of public evidence. There is no such thing as a “political offense”, which is how you frame her conviction — there are “criminal offenses” and then are political prosecutions/persecutions.

          Your blaming of an innocent woman for daring to visit her parents and taking her child to see her grandparents is reprehensible. And then you add to this by repeating the regime’s threat against staff of BBC Persian, who have committed no crime other than to work as journalists (though, no doubt, you will find “political offenses” to justify the harassment of them and their families).

          I am pretty tolerant — probably over-tolerant in some cases — of shit-stirring in the comments section, but consider the line drawn against pursuing it for the vindication of political imprisonment.

          • Would you also describe the Zarrab case, of an Iranian allegedly doing something which was not only perfectly legal but a patriotic duty in his native Iran only to be snatched and prosecuted for it while innocently on holiday in Yankistan, as “a political prosecution/persecution”?

            The major difference it seems to me is that whereas Yankistan claims to have extra-territorial jurisdiction of its domestic laws also over non-citizens abroad, i.e. arrogates that the whole world is effectively under Yanki law, Iranian law only claims the same over its own citizens, as is fairly standard.

            • The evidence is in public domain. Trial proceedings are open. There has been no arbitrarily-announced conviction. Defendant has not been held in solitary confinement and deprived of contact with partner. There has been no sustained propaganda campaign to rationalize a conviction without due process of law.

              So, yes, there are other differences.

              • Actually, it is the pertinent — and quite effective answer — to your false equivalence between the two cases.

                The Zarrab case deserves effective consideration, rather than invocation as a bit of “whataboutism”.

              • 1. I drew no equivalence between the two cases, never mind a false one, and am still none the wiser as to where you draw the line between a legitimate prosecution and a political persecution.

                2. What does “effective consideration” mean?

              • Yes, you indicated an equivalence or at least a similarity between the two cases. There is none.

                As I said, I don’t do “whataboutism”.

            • When all else fails why not try a desperate bout of false equivalency to justify the obvious (to rational people) case of Iran taking political prisoners as if it would justify it even if it weren’t a lame attempt. Am I rite, comrade? Ouchies on the swift smackdown though. LOL.

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