France hits back at Trump accusations of Macron meddling on Iran

Paris has hit back against accusations from Donald Trump that French President Emmanuel Macron was sending “mixed signals” to Iran and purporting to speak for the US, insisting France had a sovereign right to speak out for peace and security. “On Iran, France speaks as a sovereign nation,” foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement on Friday. “We are strongly committed to peace and security in the region, and we are working to allow a de-escalation of tensions — and we need no one’s permission to do this.” Mr Le Drian was responding to accusations from Mr Trump on Twitter on Thursday. “Iran is in serious financial trouble,” Mr Trump wrote. “They want desperately to talk to the U.S., but are given mixed signals from all of those purporting to represent us, including President Macron of France….” Mr Trump was thought to be responding to an earlier news report saying Mr Macron had invited Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to next month’s G7 summit in France — which will be hosted by Mr Macron and attended by Mr Trump and other leaders of the big western democracies and Japan. France has denied making the invitation. French officials insist it is the US that has been sending mixed messages, with the administration applying “maximum pressure” on Tehran in the form of economic sanctions while Mr Trump simultaneously declares himself ready to do a deal to end the crisis. Tensions have risen in the Gulf following Mr Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal that restricted its nuclear programmes in exchange for economic benefits. Iran has in turn begun breaking its commitments under the agreement, and has resisted French efforts to persuade it to return to compliance. “All efforts must be made to avoid this conflict situation from becoming a dangerous confrontation,” Mr Le Drian said. “France is faithful to the Vienna accord which prevents nuclear proliferation. We respect the agreement we signed, as do other parties except the US, and we demand that Iran complies once more with its obligations.”

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