French president Francois Hollande has promised to take a hard line towards Iran in forthcoming nuclear talks this week as he began a three-day visit to Israel.
Mr Hollande’s message yesterday was sure to be welcomed by his Israeli hosts, who have voiced concerns that an emerging deal with global powers gives Iran too much without getting enough in return.
“France will not make concessions on nuclear proliferation,” Mr Hollande said at a welcome ceremony at Israel’s international airport. “France will maintain all its measures and sanctions until we are certain that Iran has renounced nuclear weapons.”
Iran’s suspect nuclear programme will be high on the agenda of Mr Hollande’s visit. France is a member of the six global powers conducting negotiations with Iran.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been outspoken in his opposition to a potential deal in which the international community would ease some sanctions on Iran in exchange for some curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme. The countries fear that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, a charge Iran denies.
Mr Netanyahu’s strong objections have raised tensions with the US, which says his concerns are premature. US officials say Iran will get only minor relief from the painful sanctions under the international proposal.