Paris bomb plot claims dash Tehran’s hope for EU help

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) meets with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Sept. 25, 2018. (AFP / Ludovic Marin)
Updated 05 October 2018
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Paris bomb plot claims dash Tehran’s hope for EU help

  • White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said the US faced threats from Iran, which he called “the world’s central banker of international terrorism since 1979
  • Rouhani had counted on EU governments to work with the other parties to the deal — China and Russia — to mitigate the impact of the US policy

JEDDAH: Accusations in France that Iran was behind a foiled bomb plot near Paris on June 30 seem to have put paid to any hopes President Hassan Rouhani had to use Europe to beat crippling US sanctions.

The blow to Tehran comes as European governments were working on a mechanism that would have allowed Iran to continue to reap the economic benefits of compliance with a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with the US and a number of European nations, which was jettisoned by American President Donald Trump in May.

“Such allegations, whether true or not, at this moment in time will serve only to harm both Rouhani’s government and the Iranian nation,” Saeed Leylaz, a lecturer at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University, told Agence France Presse.

“I am certain this (allegation) is a source of worry for the government, because it happened while the Islamic Republic needs every single relationship and link with the West, minus the United States,” said Leylaz.

Oubai Shahbandar, a Syrian-American analyst and fellow at the New America Foundation’s International Security Program, said that while the threat of Daesh terrorism has haunted Europe for the past few years, “the very real threat of what very much looks to be a modern-day Iranian-directed terror network will prove to be discomfiting for European Union leaders and for the future security of the European continent.”

He said the capture of Iranian diplomats implicated in the failed terror attack in Paris, along with the freezing of the assets of pro-Hezbollah Zahra Center in France, might be only the tip of the iceberg.

“Iran may have made a major miscalculation in allegedly ordering these attacks on European soil. You can certainly expect a major backlash at a time when Tehran can least afford it, given Iran’s attempts to gain European support to counter the re-imposition of crippling sanctions by the Trump administration,” added Shahbandar.

Separately, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said the US faced threats from Iran, which he called “the world’s central banker of international terrorism since 1979.”

He said: “Radical Islamist terrorist groups represent the pre-eminent transnational terrorist threat to the United States and to the United States’ interests abroad.”

Rouhani, who was re-elected to a second four-year term last year on the promise of greater economic dividends from his government’s opening to Washington, was already reeling from the economic fallout of Trump’s abandonment of the nuclear deal.

A precipitous slide in the value of the rial against the dollar hit the purchasing power of ordinary Iranians, while an anticipated boost to Western investment failed to materialize, hitting plans to renew Iran’s antiquated infrastructure.

Rouhani had counted on EU governments to work with the other parties to the deal — China and Russia — to mitigate the impact of the US policy U-turn but the French allegation has now put those hopes in jeopardy.

The allegations were swiftly seized on by the Trump administration as vindication of its hard line.

“France taking strong action against failed Iranian terrorist plot in Paris — Tehran needs to know this outrageous behavior will not be tolerated,” the White House’s National Security Council tweeted.

Rouhani’s government sees the hand of the Trump administration behind the allegations, convinced Washington is determined to undermine European resistance to the US abandonment of the JCPOA, the official acronym for the nuclear deal.

“Some centers of power do not approve of Iran’s good relations with Europe — that it is staying in the JCPOA and that its economic ties with the EU continue,” Ghasemi said.
 


Trump wants to meet Putin in Paris on Nov. 11: Bolton

US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam, in this November 11, 2017 file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 24 October 2018
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Trump wants to meet Putin in Paris on Nov. 11: Bolton

  • Both leaders will be in Paris for the Nov. 11 World War I commemorations, which 60 heads of state and government are expected to attend

MOSCOW: Donald Trump wishes to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin when the two visit Paris on Nov. 11 for World War I commemorations, the US president’s National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Tuesday.
“I think President Trump will look forward to seeing you in Paris on the sidelines of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice,” Bolton told Putin in televised remarks as the two met for talks in Moscow.
Putin said: “It would be useful to continue a direct dialogue with the president of the United States... for example in Paris, if the American side is interested.”
Both leaders will be in Paris for the Nov. 11 World War I commemorations, which 60 heads of state and government are expected to attend.
Trump and Putin held their first bilateral summit in Helsinki in July, after which the US president came under strong criticism at home for adopting a very conciliatory tone with his Russian counterpart.
Bolton met Monday with several senior Russian officials before his talks with Putin. His visit comes after Trump announced that the United States would pull out of the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) signed by president Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader.