“France-Iran; economic and social contexts affected by sanctions”
The live talk on “France-Iran; economic and social contexts affected by sanctions” with Mr. Emmanuel Dupuy, Head of the Institute for Prospective and Security in Europe (IPSE), Associate Professor at PARIS-SUD University and Visiting Professor at Ningbo University in China was held in September 2020 via the Instagram page of the Foundation of Dialogue and Solidarity of United Nations at @fodasun.
The conversation begins with an introduction to Trump’s withdrawal from the UN Security Council, Iran’s commitments, and the losses suffered by France, and the role of the agreement in Iran’s entry into the global capital market.
You can watch the video of this conversation and read it in details.
Hello, I will first start with a quick presentation of the framework in which I am going to interview you, my name is Bruno Lédion, I am the director of the Fodasun endowment fund, which aims to participate in the dialogue between France and Iran, Last month we had received in this context Régis le Sommier, deputy director of Paris-Match, for a focus on the economic sanctions that hit Iran, Today we therefore receive Emmanuel Dupuy, who is the President of the Institute for Prospective and Security in Europe (IPSE) and you are also an expert in international relations, you know Iran well, and it is in this capacity that we proposed that you participate in this interview.
Without further ado I’m going to ask you the first question, today is August 25, 2020, about 5 years ago since, it was July 14, 2015, Iran, the Europeans, the Chinese, the Russians and the EU jointly signed what has been technically called the “JCPOA”, better known as the “nuclear deal with Iran”, including a pledge of Iran’s openness to the world in exchange for the application for Iran of the nuclear agreement, but also in the other direction, from Europe to Iran, with the aim of a country with a very well educated population, of 82 million inhabitants, with promises of markets, exchanges, etc. Where are we today?
“I believe you have seized the right moment when new sanctions unfortunately will hit Iran. You are right to recall that my institute, the Institute for Prospective and Security in Europe (IPSE), has long been interested in Iran. I myself created in November 2015 the Center for the Development of Franco-Iranian Friendship (CDAFI) to celebrate 300 years of diplomatic relations between France and Iran, at the time we were by the yardstick a period of a period which promised to be more positive than it is currently with the resumption of economic cooperation which unfortunately has been put on hold since the reinstatement of the sanctions dating from 2006. So you it is right to start by recalling where we are now. It is August 25th, the United States has just suffered another setback as it asked that the United Nations Security Council vote on sanctions again and not to say strengthen the sanctions that it did not. have ceased to apply since they left the Iran nuclear deal on May 8, 2018, since they have already strengthened their sanctions three times on a sectoral basis in May 2019, then in November 2019 affecting products oil tanker, and therefore once again the latter with sanctions aimed at increasing an embargo which obviously affects, we will come back to later, the Iranian population. You are right to recall that France, like other European countries, two other European countries which had signed the JCOPA (Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action) for Plan d’Action Globale Commun in French, whose goal was, as its name indicates it to try not only to find a way out of the risk that represented, but there also perhaps that it will be necessary to open a debate on the Iranian capacity to equip itself with nuclear weapons for military vocation, knowing that nuclear and recourse to energy from civilian nuclear power has already been a reality for some thirty years ”.
Yes, moreover, we can point out that the very beginning of the program dates from the time of the Shah and Valery Giscard d’Estaing?
“That’s it, since the end of the 70s, the beginning of the 80s and there was no question of reducing the Iranian capacity to use energy, I do not know if it can be qualified as ‘clean’ but in any case an energy to which many other countries are entitled. Let us remember all the same that Iran is, from an institutional point of view, or at least in the name of the international community, a relatively better student than other countries which do not belong to the non-proliferation treaty (NPT). Moreover, Iran signed the additional document which reinforces the control by the International Atomic Energy Agency (AIEN) in December 2003, I will come back to this later. So you are right to recall that the 8 stakeholders of the PGAC, therefore the 5 members of the Security Council plus Germany to which must be added the European Union, therefore the 3 large European countries that are France, Great Britain and Germany, plus the European Union, were committed, I believe, with sincerity, towards a logic of de-escalation, and a desire to further open up the Iranian economy and the 82 million inhabitants of a relatively young, which like any young and educated population has the right and also seeks to anchor itself in the world economy, it was a little bit the generic philosophy.
And to come back to the different modalities that separate us from July 2015, so let us recall that the United States has engaged a policy of “maximum pressure” which has been accompanied by an increase in sanctions against Iran, against the Iranian regime officially but which we know that they obviously affect the population. The IMF evokes an economic recession, an inflation which could reach 40% next year and with a devaluation of the currency, the Rial, of 60% and an unemployment rate which continues, unfortunately, to increase, so we hoped that it can be reduced, from 12% or even 25 to 30% for students and the entire population under 30. So a maximum pressure which found its climax with the unilateral exit, it should be remembered, contradicting the position of the other signatories, the 4 other members of the Security Council, France, Great Britain, Russia and China, with this unilateral exit from President Trump. Moreover, one of his first diplomatic actions, on May 8, 2018, this maximum pressure was only crescendo, with unfortunately an intensification on the regional level with the impact that the elimination of General Qassem Soleimani may have had on the January 3, 2020 with all the underlying tension in the Gulf. Beyond this chronological evocation, I believe it is important to recall that Iran responded and that, as the sanctions from the United States were put in place, Iran considered, there also it is the opening of a debate, on the questioning of elements on which it was committed vis-à-vis the international community, the last phase of this plan to reduce Iranian commitments dates from January 2020. It should still be remembered that since January 2020, there has not been an acceleration in the questioning of its commitments. To be as academic as possible, perhaps remind our listeners what it was about the Iran nuclear deal, from a technical point of view, and the impact it can have on the economy. It should be remembered that the objective of this agreement was to reduce Iran’s production capacity for enriched uranium and plutonium included in the composition of a possible atomic bomb ”.
With very intense surveillance of Iranian nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency?
“Absolutely, you are right, it is one of the elements of the agreement”.
So the West could check that Iran was keeping its commitments?
“So not only the West but also the international community since it is a resolution, resolution 22-31 which was signed in July 2015, giving legal force to the Iranian nuclear agreement and then , of course, all the signatory countries of the NPT and in particular the countries for which international law and the international atomic energy agency found legitimacy. Let us recall that since the agreement of July 2015, 12 missions have proceeded without particular hitches, noting that Iran scrupulously responded to the agreements or in any case under the terms of the Iranian nuclear agreement. Whether these agreements are not sufficiently binding or whether the United States believes that more is needed is another debate. In any case with regard to the document which was signed by the previous American administration, and the 7 other parties including Iran, Iran was not violating this agreement. To set the scene very, very succinctly, I would like to remind you that it was a question of guaranteeing, for the next 10 years, from 2015 to 2025, a reduction in Iran’s production capacity of enriched uranium and plutonium, enriched uranium which should not be not be enriched to more than 3.67%. We are, as I said with the questioning, assumed on the part of Iran at a low enrichment, 4.5%,. All military experts agree that in order to achieve military-type enrichment, you would have to reach 90% of that enrichment, so you see there is a large margin for that. Another aspect which was specified in the agreement, this enrichment was to be done only in a single location, the nuclear site of Natanz, under the strict control of the international agency for atomic energy as you recall it. Second item, the authorized stock of centrifuges, so the number of centrifuges which were initially in Iran’s possession, nearly 19,000, had to be reduced precisely to 5,060, the Iranians decided to return to the gauge, not to reach the 19,000, but to increase the number of their centrifuges. Another element as I said, beyond the capacity to enrich uranium, there was a storage capacity for plutonium, the second component that can enter into the composition and creation of an atomic weapon and from this point of view, it was specified that the stock should not exceed 300kg, the Iranians, according to a recent study by the International Atomic Energy Agency, have reached the capacity in recent weeks to produce more than 1.5 tons of this plutonium so you can see that we are a little far from what we had succeeded in doing, that is to say scrupulously limiting the production of plutonium in the sites which supply heavy water. Those are roughly the different elements. I add now to get to the bottom of your question and to answer it perhaps in a more detailed way that, beyond this technical aspect, there was an economic perspective. And I think that’s the most important thing, with the deal. It is because this agreement made it possible to unblock a situation which, with the sanctions that had been established in 2006, has continued to grow. And with the prospect of reaching this market, potentially very favorable to Western companies and in particular luxury companies, manufacturing companies, and in particular in the production of a certain number of elements, of industrial production on which Europeans are better off. equipped or equipped, if I may say so, that the Anglo-Saxons and in particular railway production and airport production, and of course automobile manufacturing production. This is the reason why France was particularly invested ”.
Can we quantify what we could call “the bill” of the departure of Europeans and particularly, this is what interests us, of the departure of France and French companies? How was she present and what disappeared?
“So if we take the French position, we should perhaps recall or go back, before the agreement on Iranian nuclear power, the French trade balance was not very important since it did not exceed 300 million. euros per year. Nevertheless, following the Iranian nuclear agreement, moreover in the light of President Rouhani’s visit to France in January 2016, the presence of French companies, small and large companies, we will also come back to this in relation to the implementation of the special INSTEX vehicle, had increased significantly, from 300 million to 1.3 billion euros. So we can clearly see that the immediate impact, therefore the contribution, the call for air that the agreement on Iranian nuclear power could have constituted was rather favorable to French companies, over a period unfortunately too short, therefore between the signing of the agreement, July 2015, the lifting of sanctions, January 2016, and unfortunately the implementation of the unilateral withdrawal and the consequences of this unilateral withdrawal from January 2018. To answer your question precisely, the World Bank considers that the shortfall, with the incremental strengthening of American sanctions is practically 10 million euros per year in terms of market share and the capacity of Western companies to invest in Iran. If we want to go into more detail, I believe that this is nevertheless a more important element, sector by sector because I believe that this is what deserves a deepening and to see the amplitude in which we are situated. France, moreover, had estimated that the Iranian oil industry, whose production had been voluntarily limited, from 500,000 barrels / day to the 2021 target which was 4 to 5 million barrels / day, in any case c ‘was the objective that the Iranians were aiming for by 2021, the shortfall is very important there since it is 10 billion dollars and for the Iranian oil industry, if the increase in the number of these barrels were not a reality. This is also the reason why France, let us remember with a memory not so short as that, did everything to try to compensate for this loss and this shortfall since France had offered to cover part of this. loss of earnings by investing, or by asking that its European partners accompany it in the payment of 15 billion euros. This sum was mentioned on the occasion of the very short and brief, of the warming which occurred between the G7 of Biarritz which was held last August and the 74th General Assembly of the United Nations where we had the possibility, alas aborted by a direct meeting between President Rouhani and President Donald Trump, so you see that the period was very short, two months during which we thought that we could have compensated for the consequences of this agreement. Beyond this reality, you ask me what impact for France, so let’s come back to French companies ”.
Yes, there have been investments which ultimately were of no use, perhaps not but which are partly lost?
“We must already remember that before the Iran nuclear agreement, French companies had been heavily sanctioned. Remember the record sanction and the record fine that had been imposed on French banks that had gone against previous sanctions, we are no longer in the Trump administration, we were still in the Obama administration, that will perhaps answer a question that you will ask me about the continuation. Let us remember that BNP-Paribas had to pay, after agreement, 8 billion dollars, that is the principle of extraterritoriality, all transactions being issued in dollars, French companies, most of which, at least those of the CAC40 and in particular almost all French banks, with the exception of Banque Postale, are present in the United States, must comply with Treasury requirements, in particular French companies have already paid. The second example, which is more a direct consequence of the unilateral American withdrawal, is quite simply the fact that French companies have no doubt anticipated reactions from the tax authorities and from the American Treasury against them. Take the example of Total, Total was engaged in the financing of the third tranche of what constitutes one of the largest natural gas fields in the world, South Pars. Perhaps it should be remembered that Iran, which holds 17% of natural gas reserves, is the 2nd country in terms of proven resources, the 3rd country in terms of world production, nearly 200 billion m3, ahead of the United States. United, behind Russia ”.
Just behind Qatar I believe ?
“Qatar holds 28% of world reserves but if we add Iran, Qatar and Russia, we have more than 50% of world reserves, which is also one of the reasons why there is a form of similarity, concomitance between the economic agendas of these three countries, in any case the companies invested in this field. So there is a completely direct consequence since Total had to invest in the 3rd tranche of these two fields which are adjoining and shared between Iran and Qatar between the territorial waters of the Persian Gulf on two fields which have different names. , North Dome for Qatar and North Stream for Iran, and therefore the 51% in which Total was to invest well quite simply had to be sold. And had to be redeemed and obviously you can imagine that those who took advantage of this juicy contract, are those who believe that they should not suffer neither the consequences of extraterritoriality, nor the effect and impact of the nuclear agreement is obviously the Chinese since Total sold its shares to the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) ”.
What were the main perspectives outlined at the time, what was behind the idea of signing this agreement with Iran, in particular, could we draw a parallel with Kissinger who had encouraged China and the United States to come closer, with an idea behind the head of “liberalization” or “democratization” of the country, was there this idea behind the deal with Iran?
“Already, there was a principle of realism on the part of European countries. It should be borne in mind that the first four investors, after China of course which is Iran’s main economic partner, the four Western investors if I dare say not to say European, are Germany in 1 , Italy in 2, the Netherlands in 3 and France in 4 ”.
Moreover, we can point out that the idea was not necessarily to benefit American companies which continued to be subject to sanctions, and that economically, it was more profitable for European countries than for the United States. ?
“So that’s where the problem arose. It is that the companies which had the most to gain from this nuclear agreement were the French and European companies, unfortunately, which made their negotiations in dollars and not in euros. Why, because Iran needs infrastructure, it needs oil infrastructure, oil processing, precisely in relation to these 200 billion m3 of reserve. It needs to connect, to interconnect at the rail level, at the airport level. It needs to invest in what was the policy which unfortunately is a little underestimated for two reasons, obviously the question of economic sanctions and also the impact of the Coronavirus, let us remember that Iran has been largely affected, an investigation by the BBC which specified that Iran was much more heavily affected, I recall to be completely precise that Iran announced 14,405 people officially dead, the BBC estimated that this number should be multiplied by 3, 42,000 people for 450 000 people affected, that also an immediate impact since it is one of the reasons why Iran had requested and subscribed an exceptional loan from the IMF of 5 billion dollars that the United States refused for the very principle of sanctions to reinforce the idea that the sanctions, as always, do not strain the capacity of States to manage current affairs, but cause victims and are obviously targeted at the populations. So to answer your question, Iran needs infrastructure, which is why French and European companies were particularly empowered and particularly well qualified for that. Renault and Peugeot, compared to historicity, let us remember that 40% of the Iranian fleet comes from French companies. A good part of Peugeot’s production in Poissy in the Parisian suburbs and in Montbéliard was then destined for Iran. There are also hotel groups, an important sector in which Iran has invested and this is the reason why Accord had started to build a number of hotels, the first of which was on the site of the Tehran airport. And then of course the Airbus, France had sold 117 Airbus to Mahan Air and Iran Air, because of the sanctions we no longer sell and deliver more than 6. And then obviously also the luxury sector, sector in which companies French women were particularly present, I think of L’Oréal, Sephora, which had also planned to open several stores in Iran
It is also important to remember that this exit from an agreement had dramatic consequences for the populations, I recall the 60% drop in the Rial, the stagnation of the unemployment rate, an economic recession that has been around since 2019, so for 2 consecutive years from 4 to 6%. Let us also recall that one of the important elements of the Iranian nuclear deal was the fact that part of the currencies that had been frozen by the West had to return to Iran and from this point of view, the money is lacking in the country. Iranian economy, to equip itself with the infrastructure it needs for its development. This desire to repatriate currency was also a way of justifying the fact that French companies had to invest in the Iranian market because there was a market that was buoyant even if part of the money that was to return to Iran would have been used precisely. to sign contracts.
On the Kissingerian dimension of this agreement, yes, there was on the part of the previous American administration, the Obama administration, notably with John Kerry, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, a desire to establish liberalization at the economic level as a prerequisite. political and societal liberalization. I’m not saying that the United States wanted to have a slightly more flexible “regime change”, but let’s say that there was the logic which would consist in saying that if one strengthened the economic structures, if one strengthened the political authorities , other than those currently in power, if we relied on the liberal current to atrophy the conservative current, which emerged as the winner of the last legislative elections since we see that the Majliss is now dominated by the conservatives, there was a vocation to have a kind of soft liberalization as we could see with the first hours and years of the Soviet Union with the liberalization of the time of Boris Elstine in the 90s. There was indeed on the part of the United States this will. Again, on the part of the Europeans, it was more economic pragmatism to try to compensate for the loss of the market. I put my words into perspective, the Americans also had a vocation of economic anchoring. But with the closure of diplomatic relations since 1979, it was more difficult here to set up immediately. While we Europeans did not have these prejudices, we had this capacity because the European Union, through the different financial capacities, especially through Switzerland, was already part of a desire to prepare, I remind you that the sanctions were established from 2006, that they were strengthened, then were reduced, then were reinforced again, so we know the mechanisms by which we could re-trade with Iran ”.
What is the point of view of the other signatories of this agreement about which we talk a little less but about which we have seen the important role in the United Nations Security Council, namely China and the Russian, are they present? in Iran, and can we say that they have already replaced the Europeans?
“So I’ll take country by country. Let us remember that on the occasion of the last vote, I would remind you that the United States found itself very annoyed at not having a majority of the members of the Security Council, they had a snub since two countries voted for, the United States and the Dominican Republic, two countries voted against, obviously Russia and China, 11 countries abstained and among them, the 3 European signatories, who sit on the security council. The two permanent ones, Great Britain and France, and Germany which sits there temporarily. So the Americans were furious, that’s why they keep accusing, “supporting”, these are not my words but those of Mike Pompeo, either you are with us or you support the “regime of Mullah ”. It just goes to show that the Kissingerian policy has abandoned the North American continent ”.
Either you are with us, or you are against us, it reminds us about another American president …
“This is indeed a great constant in American policy, but vis-à-vis Iran there is, it is true, a Trumpian schyzophrenia vis-à-vis Iran which has never reached , even with conservative presidents, the two bushes, or Ronald Reagan, this virulence. So to answer your question precisely by talking about Russia, by making a prerequisite between Russia and China, I think that Russia’s interest in Iran is more political, economic interests are less ”.
I believe Rosatom is an actor ..?
“Yes, moreover, part of the nuclear agreement specified the role that Rosatom was to play in the use of the extraction of plutonium which was to leave the Busher plutonium plant, through Azerbaijan, to Russia,” therefore Russia is fully engaged before and after. But the interest of Russian involvement is more geopolitical. Russia needs Iran in a number of conflicts, in which it is engaged, on which it relies to stabilize its anchoring. Obviously Syria being the country to which we are all referring, but also with Turkey. To avoid a confrontation, I was going to say head-on between Russia and Turkey and we have seen it in Syria in the past, we see it more and more in Libya, Russia is very happy to to have Iran which in a certain way plays the role of a kind of buffer or of the capacity to dialogue with one as with the other, I am not saying that the interests of Turkey, Iran and Russia are divergent but sometimes it is good to be three, to be able to compensate or rely on one as the other. To sum up, I would say that Russia’s interest is therefore geopolitical and all the more so since Iran is standing up quite firmly and openly vis-à-vis the United States, which supports the idea that the The United States is becoming a regressive actor, on which we can no longer rely, especially in the region in which the Russians are giving much more interest, the Near and Middle East, not to say the Persian Gulf.
On the other hand, for China, it is quite another interest. It is economic. Remember that a few weeks ago, China and Iran signed a historic agreement that has not yet been ratified by the Majjlis, moreover there is some reluctance on both sides, on the Iranian side as well as on the Chinese side because it is a commitment for 25 years, with investments which are gigantic, 400 billion dollars, in key sectors such as infrastructure, telecoms, rail, and transport ”.
Moreover we could see the Iranian telecommunications minister, Mr. Jahromi who tweeted the other day, the brand was not mentioned but he had shown that 5G was arriving in Tehran and we suspect that it is Huawei …?
“This is not very far from reality, especially since the 400 billion Chinese investments are part of a much longer process which is that of the Silk Roads, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI ), like Pakistan, elements that China needs to be able to access the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, this is the reason why Iran brings up the possibility of supporting the presence, and it is there where there is perhaps some reluctance from the Iranian point of view of the military presence, which would be a first in Iran. Afterwards, I don’t know if this information is confirmed on the Iranian side, but what is important is the policy behind it. That is to say, China offers Iran a kind of pivot to the East, a kind of political bone that Iran obviously needs to show that it is not alone and that it can pass between quotation marks of the missed opportunity that constituted the westernization of its economy. It is not for lack of having given us the pole on several occasions, and then for China to show that it is not alone either and that it offers an alternative to all those who believe that American extraterritoriality in the economic level, the capacity for hegemonism not to say the desire to regulate or even change the rules of the international game by doing without multilateralism to have a unilateralist vision of regime change is something on which China most embodies this resistance . It is therefore a way of recreating a form of commercial partnership that Tehran needs and an alternative to this American tropism. I add moreover because it is an important element which has perhaps been underestimated in the media that other countries have had, thanks to China, this possibility of pivoting towards the East, Japan had also proposed this alternative, very quickly showered since Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister who had proposed his mediation, remember, at the time when Iran was looking for mediators, at the time, moreover, the paroxysm of the crisis, after the assassination of Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in January 2020, and therefore Japan was ordered to no longer offer its services. So from this point of view, China offers better conditions, with two problems nevertheless. The first problem is that the United States has certainly entered into a logic of direct confrontation but they will not be able to remain in this economic confrontation forever and that at a time when another China will perhaps have to support vis with regard to Iran and then the second element which is much more structuring and much more important is that China has fully understood that if it comes too close to an exclusive relationship with Iran, that risks obstructing its other markets and in particular with the countries of the Persian Gulf and which it also needs and especially Saudi Arabia ”.
Last question if we have time, what are the prospects of a return of France to Iran, does France, one the impression that yes or in any case its president, hopes for an election of Biden in November and maybe a softer policy if a Democratic team takes over from Trump and in your opinion is there a plan B in case Trump gets reelected?
“At the risk of surprising you, I think Iran has absolutely no interest in having Biden elected. I think Iran now knows perfectly well how Donald Trump works, what is the erratic side of his foreign policy and what are the flaws on which to rely and in particular the dilution of Western solidarity outside the Atlantic and which will increase, whatever the president, moreover. So I am not sure that a Democratic president, a little weakened internationally by the fact that American foreign policy will have other priorities, the first priority is to strengthen his capacity to dialogue with his initial partners that we are European and NATO countries. I am also not sure that Joe Biden’s foreign policy is significantly different from President Trump’s towards Iran for several reasons, firstly the policy towards Israel will not budge and that the concomitance of the agenda with that of Saudi Arabia should not change either. So from this point of view, I am not sure that a new democratic administration would be more inclined to open a more fraternal dialogue if I dare say so or more friendly towards Iran. A dialogue, certainly, the first consequence would be, it seems to me, the breaking of the American decision to withdraw from the nuclear agreement. So compared to plan B and the European position, it may be more interesting. The United States is on hold for the next 6 months, regardless of the president. If President Trump is re-elected, he will obviously take care of domestic politics, which is where he has lost the most legitimacy in recent weeks, in the light of the exponential growth of the Coronavirus. Or, in terms of foreign policy, if President Biden is elected, we will have a sort of period, for 6 months, during which American foreign policy will not be as proactive as it would have been if it had been. not if we had been in a capacity for dialogue with its traditional partners within the framework of the United Nations. The gap is so strong regardless of Donald Trump’s successor that I think Europe and the intermediary players, and among these you are right to mention France. Nevertheless, I think that France is perhaps less well equipped than Germany to play this role. Germany will chair the European Council until December. Germany has emerged, it seems to me more clearly from the economic and health crisis as a result of the Coronavirus, and the German leadership is now a leadership which is on the side of its neighborhood, Mediterranean and African neighborhood. And from this point of view, the person who has stood up to the United States the most is Angela Merkel who finally in the light of her 4th term appears much more solid in terms of foreign policy than our president who has entered in a somewhat turbulent period, firstly France will not chair the European Union until the first half of 2022, so there is still a room for maneuver. Once again, the presidential election means that the President of the Republic is going to have an internal sequence and perhaps less an international sequence as he has had during the last 6 months ”.
We have time for one last little question, have, in the end, these sanctions against Iran weakened the country because we can ask the question whether it is really effective in relation to the objective? to affect the leaders and if in fact it did not especially hurt the Iranian population, but the Iranian political system already on the domestic level is not particularly weakened and small 2, some even say that the political position region of Iran has even strengthened?
“It is indeed a paradox, the paradox is that the general Iranian sovereignty has undoubtedly been strengthened, with the capacity, in spite of the demonstrations which enamel the country since December 2009 and which we have seen resurface recently in the occasion of the last legislative elections. Let us say that Iranian society is firmly anchored in the logic of the protection of its territory. So when we had mentioned possible reprisals following the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani and therefore the way in which the Iranians had responded through their Iraqi proxy, the Iranian people obviously supported the action to protect the territory if there was aggression therefore from this point of view there effectively, the sanctions, the focus I dare repeat the schizophrenia of the United States against Iran is a powerful factor of cohesion, cohesion which serves to keep the system in place, but not necessarily people to whom we are referring, the sanctions have largely contributed to bringing the conservatives back to power and we have seen this during the last legislative elections and the next presidential elections, where the succession of the Guide could consolidate us in this idea, it is is the reason why the conservatives would get along perfectly with Donald Trump, in the logic where both would speak of the same see if I dare say, in the same singularly different voice but with the same roots. So the sanctions have reinforced radicalizations in Iranian society as well as the supporters of this radicalization on the side of American diplomacy. After you are right to remind you, we must always come back to the idea that international sanctions never target the leaders but always fall on the populations. It is a constant with the sanctions that we have engaged in Venezuela, Iraq, Iran already for about 14 years, Russia, it is always the populations who are the first victims of these sanctions. This is the reason why the only way to contribute to improving the lot of the populations is obviously to reach an international negotiation, as we had painfully managed to do through an absolutely innovative exercise which consisted in actors who did not necessarily have the same interests can sit around a table, eight stakeholders to reach an agreement after two years of very tough but very deep negotiations and I believe that the international system is based on consensus and not dissensus. Just because one stakeholder, admittedly the most powerful, says no, does not mean that we must follow it blindly. These last four days at the UN have shown us that we can resist despite everything ”.
So dialogue rather than force, that will give us an excellent conclusion …
“Dialogue, consultation and above all international negotiation. This is the reason why, I will perhaps end with this, that the French position is a courageous position, a rather interesting position, to be able to act as mediator, to be able to make dialogue between the parties between irreconcilable quotation marks. President Macron had tried to do it very courageously by inviting Mohamed Javad Zarid to Biarritz on the occasion of the G7 and had tried to do so, perhaps more awkwardly on the occasion of the last United Nations general assembly in New- York, but still with the desire to do it and it must be paid despite everything this tribute.