French Jewish MP urges caution with regards to Iran

January 27, 2016  

Meir Habib, a Jewish member of the French parliament, on Tuesday said that the strengthening of relations between France and Iran should take place only on the condition that the Islamic Republic changes its policies.

Habib’s comments come ahead of an official visit to Paris by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, which is scheduled for Wednesday. Rouhani, who started his European visit in Italy where he signed business agreements, is expected to do the same in France.

Turning to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at the plenary, Habib urged him to reconsider the strengthening of ties.

“Mr. Minister, which country executed nearly 1,000 people in 2015 and 19 people in January this year, including minors?” he said, adding, “Which country executes homosexuals, stones women, imprisons journalists and persecutes ethnic groups? Which country initiates cartoon contests about the Holocaust, adopts a policy of Holocaust denial and publicly calls for the destruction of Israel? Iran.”

“It’s an amazing coincidence”, Habib continued, “that the visit of Rouhani tomorrow in France takes place precisely on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Mr. Minister, we can understand that Iran is an important player in the area and there are important economic considerations. However, will you commit that normalization of relations with Iran will take place only with guarantees as to the preservation of human rights and strict compliance with its obligations regarding the nuclear program?”

In response, Fabius told Habib that France will act with caution with regards to Iran.

“It was necessary to reach an agreement to divert the danger of a nuclear bomb,” said Fabius, adding, “However, it was also necessary for the agreement to be strict enough and France’s position on the subject was decisive. Since then, the relationship has become more open and within this framework we will receive the Iranian President tomorrow, as did our friends in Italy and others. We’ll talk about regional politics, we will talk also about the road map, the economy and more.”

Fabius continued, “We have significant disagreements with [Iran], for example on the issue of the death penalty. It is important for me to mention that France strongly opposes executions, no matter the circumstances…We will be very cautious with regards to monitoring Iran’s change of behavior.”

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