France restricts travel by diplomats to Iran

Published: August 29, 2018
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The national flag of Iran is seen on top of the Austrian Chancellery 
PHOTO: REUTERS

The national flag of Iran is seen on top of the Austrian Chancellery PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS: France has told its diplomats and foreign ministry officials to postpone indefinitely all non-essential travel to Iran, citing a foiled bomb plot and a hardening of Tehran’s attitude towards France, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.

Any hardening of relations with France could have wider implications for Iran. France has been one of the strongest advocates of salvaging a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which US President Donald Trump pulled out of in May.

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Iran’s economy has been hammered by the prospect of the re-imposition of US sanctions that had been lifted under the deal. European countries including France have pledged to try to soften the economic blow, but have been unable so far to persuade their firms to defy Washington and stay in Iran.

French oil and gas major Total and its car manufacturers PSA and Renault have led an exodus of European companies from Iran, fearful of the extra-territorial reach of Washington’s sanctions.

The memo cites a foiled plot to bomb a rally held by an exiled Iranian opposition group near Paris that was attended by Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani as a sign of Tehran’s more aggressive stance towards France.

“The behavior of the Iranian authorities suggests a hardening of their position vis-a-vis our country, as well as some of our allies,” Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, the ministry’s secretary general wrote in the notice dated August 20

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