AP Exclusive: Officials say France wants more Iran sanctions
VIENNA (AP) — France has asked the European Union to consider new sanctions against Iran over recent missile tests, in a request made shortly after the EU ended sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program, officials have told The Associated Press.
Two officials from European Union nations said the French proposal is under EU review but most other EU members view it as counterproductive to efforts to revive political and economic ties with Iran after the protracted chill over the nuclear dispute. The officials, who were briefed by people who attended the meeting, spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.
Disclosure that the French asked for such a review — even if it is ultimately unsuccessful — could complicate a visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who arrived in Paris from Rome on Wednesday to improve political and economic ties now that the sanctions have been removed.
A French diplomat who spoke only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the topic cited Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius as saying the EU is considering possible new sanctions on Iran. He declined to say which nation initiated the process.
The officials said the request came at a meeting of 28 EU foreign ministers shortly after the EU and the U.S. lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for U.N. certification that Iran had scaled back its nuclear programs. Iran said those programs were peaceful but critics feared it wanted to build nuclear weapons.
Another diplomat from an EU nation said hovever that the review was not discussed at the meeting. He declined to comment on whether France had requested a review about such sanctions elsewhere and demanded anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the issue publicly.
The French government did not respond to AP requests for comment by late Wednesday. The European Union also did not address whether France had asked for a review.
The United States had imposed new sanctions over the firing of a medium-range Iranian ballistic missile shortly before the reported French request.
Associated Press writers Sylvie Corbet and Elaine Ganley in Paris and John-Thor Dahlburg and Raf Casert in Brussels contributed.