PARIS: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Wednesday that the US risks further destabilizing the Middle East after Washington warned Iran faced the “strongest sanctions in history.”
“The sanctions to be launched against Iran will not foster dialogue. On the contrary, they will boost the importance and power of Iran’s conservatives and weaken president (Hassan) Rouhani, who wanted to negotiate,” Le Drian told France Inter radio. “Ultimately, this stance is likely to put the region in further danger than it is today.”
On May 8, US President Donald Trump pulled out of the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which curbs the country’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.
The decision to withdraw from the accord marked a stark diplomatic defeat for Europe, whose leaders, repeatedly and in person, had called on Trump to think again.
Speaking Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Tehran would be hit with the “strongest sanctions in history” and cautioned European firms against continuing to do business with the Islamic republic.
Le Drian warned Wednesday of a “regional explosion” because of the Syrian civil war and the Iranian nuclear crisis.
Asked if there was a risk of a new conflict, he replied “yes.”
He referred to rockets fired from “Iranian arms based in Syria” on May 10 on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, which prompted return fire by Israel against Iranian targets inside Syria.
“The conditions are all there so that if by chance something happened, perhaps on purpose, perhaps not, there could be an escalation,” he added.