French FM visits Iran, defends nuclear deal

French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault promised to defend the nuclear deal as he arrived in Teheran on Monday.

French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault arrived in the Iranian capital on Monday to reassure Tehran of France and Europe’s support for the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

France, together with the United States, Russia, China, Britain and Germany, managed to broke the JCPOA deal two years ago. Under the plan, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme and allow access to international monitors in return for lifted nuclear-related sanctions.

However, Ayrault’s 2-day visit, during which he will also discuss Syria, will not proceed unaffected due to recent developments between Iran and the US.

President Donald Trump has called the JCPOA “the worst accord ever” and “one of the dumbest” ones he has seen. These statements have raised concerns on the future of the deal, fuelled by the recent travel ban against citizens from seven mainly-Muslim countries, including Iran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, with whom Ayrault is scheduled to meet, has aimed sharp criticism against the travel ban. The French foreign minister said the ban was “dangerous” and called for its revocation.

Automobile manufacturers Peugeot and Renault, amongst other major French corporations, have signed deals since trade with Iran opened up and new ones could be finalised during Ayrault’s visit.