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French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault arrives in Iran for key political, economic talks

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has arrived in Tehran to hold talks with senior Iranian officials on important economic and political issues.
Heading a senior politico-economic delegation, the French foreign minister arrived in Tehran on Monday for an official two-day visit.
During his stay, Ayrault plans to sit down with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani.
He will also participate in a session of - business forum, which is slated to be held with the participation of the two countries’ officials.
Iran and France will reportedly hold the economic session after some 17 years.
French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said on Friday that Ayrault would reaffirm Europe’s commitment to the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement, which US President Donald Trump has threatened to scrap.
He added that the French foreign minister would “underline the importance that all sides which backed the deal strictly respect their commitments.”
The nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed in July 2015 between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, Russia, and China – plus Germany. The deal took effect on January 16, 2016.
The JCPOA, which was later endorsed by a UN Security Council resolution, rolled back nuclear-related sanctions against Iran, which in turn put limits on its nuclear program.
France, for its part, was quick to restore its trade relations with Iran.
During President Rouhani’s historic visit to Paris in January last year, Iran and France signed a series of basic trade deals worth billions of dollars. France’s conglomerate plane maker Airbus, the multinational integrated oil and gas company Total, and automobile manufacturers Peugeot and Renault have signed deals with Tehran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) and his French counterpart Francois Hollande meet on January 28, 2016 at the Élysée Palace in Paris. (Photo by EPA)

On his campaign trail, Trump threatened to annul the deal, which he has lambasted as “the worst accord ever negotiated” and “one of the dumbest” ones he has come across.
Trump’s harsh rhetoric against the nuclear deal comes while Washington’s partners in the P5+1 have thrown their weight behind the agreement. The EU has already said that it is in complete agreement with China and Russia over the necessity to keep the JCPOA alive.