Netanyahu in Paris to pressure Macron about Iran
Israeli occupation Prime Minister wants France to increase its pressure on Iran, citing its nuclear program and deliveries of drones to Russia.
Israeli occupation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was hoping to see Europe take a tougher stance against Iran over its nuclear program during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday in Paris.
According to the Israeli embassy in Paris, the two officials sought to discuss "the international effort to stop the Iranian nuclear program."
Netanyahu arrived at the Elysee Palace, and he was welcomed by Macron, though there was no press statement in the wake of the meeting, AFP reported.
The occupation's premier was hoping that Iran supplying drones to Russia would prompt the West to stop trying to revive the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
A senior Russian diplomat slammed the West in January for using allegations of Iranian drone deliveries to Russia as a "clumsy excuse" to put the Vienna talks on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal on hold, if not canceled entirely.
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Tehran gave a small batch of drones to Russia, but it was before the Ukraine war broke out, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on November 5.
Ukraine and its western allies have long been accusing Iran of supplying drones to Russia in the midst of the war. However, Tehran's statements once again struck down the allegations as false, proving that the Iranian drones seen in Ukraine's airspace were not provided to Moscow as the war was ongoing.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said during an online briefing a couple of weeks ago that he submitted a proposal to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to formally break off diplomatic ties with Tehran.
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In the meantime, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price reiterated on Wednesday that the revival of the JCPOA is not on the agenda of Washington.
By "playing the Ukraine card", Netanyahu hopes to "consolidate an anti-Iranian front" with the West, said David Khalfa at the Fondation Jean Jaures, a Paris-based think tank.
The premier also aspires that the West pushed for "increased sanctions against Iran and the full addition of the Revolutionary Guards to the list," of sanctioned entities, Khalfa added - a step both France and Germany have so far resisted.
Netanyahu's trip is taking place after an explosion occurred at one of the military enterprises of the Iranian Defense Ministry in the central city of Isfahan on Saturday night. The footage showed that the complex had only suffered minor damages on its roof, while work inside the structure was proceeding normally.
The scenes also showed some parts of the used drones' wreckage after they were shot down by the Iranian air defenses.
The Defense Ministry issued a statement saying one of three Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) attacking the defense equipment manufacturing complex in Isfahan was downed by a defense system stationed inside the facility.
According to AFP, a diplomatic source said Paris agreed with Netanyahu's sentiments that firmness was needed when it came to dealing with Iran, claiming that the Islamic Republic's nuclear program has reached a "dangerous point".
This feeling seems to be widespread in the West, as US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Wednesday that the revival of the JCPOA was not Washington's agenda.
“The JCPOA hasn’t been on the agenda for some months now,” he said, adding, “right now our focus is on the protests, our focus is on what Iran is providing to Russia and what in turn Russia is doing with those materials and wares to the people of Ukraine.”
Iran has demanded that the US provide assurances that it will not leave it again before it can re-enter the JCPOA. Washington has refused to provide a legally binding guarantee, making Tehran skeptical of the Biden administration's commitment to the talks regardless.