France and Iran Enhance Relations

When France’s former Prime Minister Michel Rocard visited Iran this week, he described a hope that bilateral relations between the two countries would grow and strengthen.  In an interview with Iran official TV station IRNA, Rocard noted that, although relations had become rocky in recent years, there was still the possibility for increased trade and opportunity.

He spoke about the coming Iran-G5+1 (the UN Security Council and Germany) nuclear talks in Baghdad May 23, and emphasized that he was optimistic about the outcome of the talks.  He said, “There were positive signals from Istanbul nuclear talks and there is a hope for a desired outcome in the upcoming Baghdad talks.”  He added that the G5 group would be adopting a common stance at the meeting, even though the US and France have differed on many issues in the past, including the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

He said, “We should remain loyal to the international community so that…negotiations in Baghdad will yield good results.”

Iranian officials are also hopeful about the Baghdad meeting, but Iran’s chief nuclear negotiations, Saeed Jalili, did warn that Western miscalculations would lead to a cessation of negotiations or unsuccessful outcomes.  He stated, “In Baghdad, we will wait for a measure that will win the confidence of the Iranian nation.”  He added that Western countries should stop directing “unconstructive” comments and “false” accusations towards the country.

Rocard added that the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s April 17, 2010 fatwa banning nuclear weapons should promote confidence regarding Iran’s nuclear attempts.  The fatwa declared producing, stocking, and using nuclear weapons haram.

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