France and Iran resumed diplomatic ties

After a year of frosty relations, France and Iran decided to re-establish ties by exchanging ambassadors. The French Ambassador was called in for consultations during 2018 upon the detainment of four citizens of Iranian origins, suspected to perpetrate bombing attacks in the National Council of Resistance party annual meeting, scheduled to take place near Paris last year.

These diplomatic rows appear now to be long forgotten. Relations ameliorated after France together with Germany set up in the INSTEX mechanism to facilitate commercial inter-exchanges between European and Iranian companies in euro currency – effectively circumventing U.S. dollar financial sanctions. The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Friday named Bahram Qasemi, the Ministry’s Spokesman and former delegate to Spain as the new Ambassador in Paris. For its part, France dispatched Philippe Thiebaud as the new Ambassador in Tehran. Mr. Thiebaud was a former diplomatic official in South Korea and member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The institution of the INSTEX mechanism undeniably facilitated amelioration of the two countries ties. In June 2018, French intelligence services arrested four people indicted for planning to attack a conference centre in Villepinte, where the annual meeting of the National Council of Resistance, a French opposition party, was expected to be held. The arrested people were two Belgian nationals of Iranian background, a French-Iranian citizen and an Iranian diplomat. All are currently detained in Antwerp prison, awaiting their court proceedings.

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