In a conversation with the Israeli news site Ynet, the French ambassador reacted to the US president’s intention to reimpose sanctions on Iran by warning that Iran could immediately resume its nuclear program. She added that French President Emmanuel Macron was successful in changing the US president’s mind and also voiced her concern over antisemitism in her country.
Le Gal and Israel’s president Photo Credit: Isaac Harari/Flash90
France’s Ambassador to Israel Hélène Le Gal spoke on Thursday about the Iran nuclear deal following last week’s meeting between US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart President Emmanuel Macron.
In a conversation with the Israeli news site Ynet, the ambassador voiced her concern over Trump’s intention to nix the Iran accord put forward by the Obama administration.
“If the United States withdraws from the deal, I think Iran will do so as well and will immediately resume its nuclear program,” she said. “The nuclear deal prevents Iran from starting its program until 2025. If the nuclear deal is canceled, it will immediately initiate its program. We need to prevent Iran from the nuclear program. We do not want Iran to have nuclear weapons – not now, not ever.”
Asked directly if she thought the US would go ahead with its threat to reimpose sanctions, Le Gal said she didn’t think “Iran would stay in the deal if the US withdrew” and added that “the possibility of war exists.”
She promised that “we are working to implement the accord and all of its conditions.”
Last week, the two presidents met in Washington to discuss the deal, but while Macron attempted to persuade his American counterpart to hold the Iran sanctions in place, the US president responded by calling the deal “ridiculous” and “insane.”
Le Gal said during the interview that Macron had managed to discourage Trump from pulling the plug on the Iran deal by saying the two “have a very good relationship. They had a long chat about a number of issues, and the issue of Iran is of utmost importance. What the French president said to Trump is that we are not naïve about Iran. I am not sure what the (French) president will do in the upcoming weeks, but they at least had a chance to discuss the issues thoroughly.”
Le Gal also spoke about the rise in antisemitism in France: “We are putting many initiatives in place such as physical security in places such as daycares and schools. We are very firm about this and very concerned about antisemitism in France in the world.” She said that France is closely monitoring antisemitism incidents and said that the rate of incidents has decreased in the past two years but still remains “too high and we need to work on that.”