Iran tells France’s Macron not to ‘blindly follow’ Trump

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FILE PHOTO: A combination of file photos showing French President Emmanuel Macron attending a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 23, 2017, and Iran President Hassan Rouhani looking on at the Campidoglio palace in Rome, Italy, January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photos

Iran on Sunday criticized French President Emmanuel Macron over his tough stance toward Tehran and said Paris would soon lose its international credibility if it “blindly follows” US President Donald Trump.

Tensions between Iran and France have risen in recent months after Macron said Tehran should be less aggressive in the Middle East, citing in particular its involvement in Syria’s civil war.

Macron, unlike Trump, has reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the deal Iran signed in 2015 with world powers under which it curbed its disputed nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of most international sanctions.

However, he has been critical of Iran’s ballistic missile tests and wants to raise the possibility of new sanctions over the program, which Tehran calls solely defensive in nature.

“To sustain its international credibility, France should not blindly follow the Americans … The French president is now acting as Trump’s lapdog,” Ali Akbar Velayati, the top adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.