France, US ‘determined’ to up pressure on Iran over weapons

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, left, meets his US counterpart Rex Tillerson at the State Department in Washington, DC, on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 19 December 2017

France, US ‘determined’ to up pressure on Iran over weapons

PARIS: France and the US are determined to “vigorously” raise pressure on Iran over its ballistic missile program, including possibly through sanctions, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said during a visit to Washington.
Le Drian was in the American capital on Monday to meet US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and US President Donald Trump’s special adviser Jared Kushner.
Tensions between Iran and France have risen in recent months with both sides repeatedly trading barbs in public, including le Drian accusing Iran of “hegemonic temptations” in the region.
Iran on Sunday criticized President Emmanuel Macron over his tough stance toward Tehran and said Paris would soon lose its international credibility if it “blindly follows” US President Donald Trump.
“They didn’t like the word, but I stand by it,” Le Drian told reporters. “Iran’s hegemonic temptations in the region is a matter of urgency because it’s within the framework of getting peace in Iraq and Syria that we will stop this process.”
Iranian officials have been particularly aggrieved by France’s criticism of its ballistic missile tests and suggestions of possible new sanctions over the program, which Tehran calls solely defensive in nature.
Le Drian, who is due in Iran at the beginning of January, said he would tell them clearly of Paris’ concerns.
“We are fully determined to press very vigorously on Iran to stop the development of an increasingly significant ballistic capability,” Le Drian said, reiterating that sanctions were possible.
Macron, unlike Trump, has reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the deal Iran signed in 2015 with world powers under which it curbed its disputed nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of most international sanctions.
After talks with the US officials, Le Drian said he believed that Washington was beginning to understand European messages on the need to maintain the accord.


Greece: Migrant child killed in boat collision

Updated 29 min 16 sec ago

Greece: Migrant child killed in boat collision

  • The crash occurred before sunrise Wednesday in the heavily patrolled waters of the east Aegean Sea
THESSALONIKI, Greece: Greek authorities say a coast guard patrol boat collided with a dinghy carrying migrants to the island of Kos from Turkey on Wednesday, leaving a child dead and another person missing.

Officials on Kos say that 31 people have been rescued following the collision, in an effort assisted by private boats and the European Union border protection agency Frontex. The circumstances of the collision aren't immediately clear.

The crash occurred before sunrise Wednesday in the heavily patrolled waters of the east Aegean Sea.