Macron urges 'firm' stance on Iran during first Middle East trip

French President Emmanuel Macron called for vigilance towards Tehran over its ballistic missile programme
Macron urges 'firm' stance on Iran during first Middle East trip
French President Emmanuel Macron called for vigilance towards Tehran over its ballistic missile programme
By AFP
Thu 09 Nov 2017 08:49 AM

French President Emmanuel Macron called for vigilance towards Tehran over its ballistic missile programme and regional activities, in an interview published on Wednesday by Emirati daily Al-Ittihad.

"It is important to remain firm with Iran over its regional activities and its ballistic programme," said Macron, in the United Arab Emirates for a 24-hour official visit, his first to the Middle East as head of state.

But he cautioned against creating a "new front" in a region already fraught with conflicts, including the war in Yemen, where UAE forces are taking part in a Saudi-led coalition.

Escalation would "only heighten tensions and further destabilise the region", Macron said.

His visit comes days after Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a ballistic missile at the Saudi capital, sparking a war of words between the regional heavyweights.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused Iran of delivering missiles to Yemeni rebels in a "direct military aggression" against the kingdom, while Iran's President Hassan Rouhani countered that Riyadh would achieve nothing by threatening "the might of Iran".

"More than ever, we need a region at peace, with responsible regional actors working for the stability of the Middle East," Macron told Al-Ittihad.

Macron said there was no immediate alternative to the Iranian nuclear deal -- long lambasted by US President Donald Trump -- which curbs Iran's nuclear programme.

On North Korea, he said: "Here is a state where the absence of an international legal framework has allowed it to develop nuclear capabilities.

"We must not repeat that mistake.

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