AFP: France will remain “tough” with Iran on its controversial nuclear programme, President Francois Hollande reassured Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday after the Israeli premier warned Paris against succumbing to Tehran’s charms.
Paris (AFP) — France will remain “tough” with Iran on its controversial nuclear programme, President Francois Hollande reassured Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday after the Israeli premier warned Paris against succumbing to Tehran’s charms.
The French leader told Netanyahu in a telephone call that France would wait to see if the more moderate politics of Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani, who replaced hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June, would translate in his “actions,” the Elysee palace said.
An Israeli diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity said that Netanyahu and his French counterpart had discussed next week’s meeting in Geneva of the so-called P5+1.
The group holding talks with Iran on its nuclear programme includes the five permanent members of the United Nations — the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia — as well as Germany.
The Israeli diplomat also said Hollande “is planning to visit Israel next month.”
In an interview with the television channel France24 on Thursday, Netanyahu urged France to be tough on Iran “with or without Rouhani’s smiles.”
His comments came after a historic handshake between the French and Iranian leaders on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last month.
“If they really wanted to dismantle their nuclear weapons programme, they’d come out with it,” Netanyahu told France24.
Iran will meet with six world powers next week over its nuclear programme, which the West believes is being used to develop a nuclear bomb, a claim Tehran denies.
Rouhani wants the lifting of US-led international sanctions and has indicated he favours a quick deal to end a stalemate in talks on the nuclear programme that have dragged on for eight years.