French FM says Iran within limits, but dangerously close to “red line”

By Middle East Affairs

France’s foreign minister said that Iran’s plans to proceed with uranium enrichment capacity as they wait out and see what happens with nuclear deal is drawing dangerously close to the “red line”.

On Monday, Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader announced Iran’s plans to begin preparations for increased uranium enrichment capacity should the nuclear deal fall apart without the U.S’s presence.

Iran also announced its plans to U.N. nuclear watchdog and told them of their “tentative” plans to create the feedstock for centrifuges, which are the machines that enrich uranium.

Reacting to the news, Jean-Yves Le Drian spoke to Europe 1 radio, and said This initiative is unwelcome. It shows a sort of irritation. It is always dangerous to flirt with the red lines, but the initiative taken … remains totally within the framework of the Vienna (nuclear) deal.”

President Trump’s repeated criticisms of the Iran nuclear deal have affected Iran’s relationship with the rest of the West, as European leaders struggle to make a presentable deal without U.S support and newly issued sanctions.

European leaders see the deal as their best chance to stop Iran from developing its atomic bomb, Iran in exchange would benefit from decades-long sanctions being lifted and allowing it to do business with major companies in the West.

France’s foreign minister also said, “If they go to a higher level then yes the agreement would be violated, but they need to realize that if they do then they will expose themselves to new sanctions and the Europeans will not remain passive.”

Drian spoke a day after Israel’s PM Netanyahu unleashed criticisms of Iran to E.U. leaders in efforts to convince them to observe Iran’s aggressive behavior and potential to incite a religious war that would send a new round of refugees to Europe. Netanyahu has vested interest to see the nuclear deal destroyed and leans on U.S support in the matter.

The French foreign minister said that Iran’s “tentative” plans are within the agreement, but come very close to the dangerous red line of what is acceptable.

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