During a telephone conversation Saturday with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Emmanuel Macron called "to immediately end the support" to Russia in the war in Ukraine, by the delivery of drones, according to the Elysee. The French head of state "alerted to the seriousness of the consequences, both security and humanitarian, of Iran's delivery of drones to Russia and called on Tehran to immediately end its support for the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine," according to a statement.
A White House spokesman warned Friday that Russia is "receiving equipment from Iran to build a drone factory" on its soil and that the site "could be fully operational early next year." The United States estimates that until last May, Russia received "hundreds" of Iranian attack drones, and accuses it of having used them recently to "attack Kiev and terrorize the Ukrainian population". Tehran has repeatedly deemed US accusations of arms supplies to Russia "baseless", claiming not to be a party to the Ukrainian conflict.
Concerns about 'Iran's nuclear programme'
During the roughly 90-minute phone call, the two presidents discussed the promotion of bilateral ties in a telephone conversation, an Iranian official said. They "discussed how to promote relations, especially the ongoing (nuclear) negotiations and regional developments," deputy chief of staff Mohammad Jamshidi said on Twitter.
French President Macron called Dr Raisi today & they spoke for 90 min. Macron stressed he wants engagement with Islamic Republic of Iran. The 2 sides discussed how to promote relations esp about ongoing negotiations & regional developments. They agreed on a roadmap for engagement
— Mohammad Jamshidi (@MhmmdJamshidi) June 10, 2023
According to the French presidency, Emmanuel Macron also "expressed his concern about the current trajectory of the Iranian nuclear program", and "recalled the willingness of the France and its European partners to find a diplomatic solution to this issue".
"He stressed the importance of Tehran taking concrete and verifiable de-escalation measures, and implementing, fully and without delay, its international obligations, as well as the commitments made to the International Atomic Energy Agency" on March 4, adds the Elysee.
The conversation between the two presidents comes at a time when negotiations between Iran and the international community to revive the Iran nuclear deal have stalled. Known by the acronym JCPOA, the deal limited Iran's atomic activities in exchange for a lifting of international sanctions.
Fariba Adelkhah case: an "agreement on a roadmap"
The phone call comes about a month after the release of Frenchman Benjamin Brière, 37, and Franco-Irish Bernard Phelan, 64. Their release follows that of French-Iranian researcher Fariba Adelkhah on 10 February, although she is still unable to leave Iranian territory. The two presidents "agreed on a roadmap," the Iranian official also added, without providing further details.
VIDEO. Iran: French hostages Benjamin Brière and Bernard Phelan have been freed
Four other French nationals remain in detention in Iran, including a teacher, Cécile Kohler, and her partner, Jacques Paris, arrested on 7 May 2022, and a 35-year-old banking consultant, Louis Arnaud, arrested in September. The identity and circumstances of the arrest of the fourth French national remain unknown.
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On May 16, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna demanded their "immediate and unconditional release." She said that "35 people", nationals of a "dozen member states" of the European Union, are still imprisoned in Iran.