Iran sits on a crowded agenda as French President Emmanuel Macron hosts Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Paris Thursday evening.

Ahead of Prince Mohammed’s arrival, a presidential official said there was still time to save the 2015 nuclear deal, the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), despite widespread skepticism that Tehran and Washington can bridge their differences.

Saudi Arabia is known for having oppsed the deal with Iran and together with its other Persian Gulf Arab allies has drawn closer to Israel as a way of defending agianst the Iranian threat.

The European Union has acted as mediator in trying to keep the JCPOA revival talks alive, after a pause since March, with reports this week that EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell had floated a proposal reportedly for a partial restoration based on US concessions over oil sanctions and Tehran restoring closer monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Saudi crown prince’s trip to Paris comes two weeks after he hosted US President Joe Biden and apparently marks his greater acceptance internationally four years after Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

DAWN, a pro-democracy group Khashoggi created three months before his murder, filed a complaint in Paris Thursday calling for the criminal prosecution of Prince Mohammed under universal jurisdiction and France’s commitment to United Nations conventions on torture and enforced disappearances.

Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, wrote on Twitter that the “rehabilitation of the murderous prince” was the result of “bargaining.” Both France and the US want Saudi Arabia to raise oil production, so bearing down on rising prices. Both are also major arms suppliers to Riyadh, as well as to the United Arab Emirates.

Raisi: Iran armed forces ‘prepared’

While seeking to improve its own armed forces, Saudi Arabia has been involved in developing cooperation, under US auspices, with Israel over air defense largely against the threat of Iranian and Iranian-supplied missiles and drones.

In the Shahid Nojeh air base, Hamedan province, Thursday Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi suggested that “regional countries” could “feel secure” due to Iran’s role.

“Our great military advances have given us power,” Raisi said. “The enemy studies our movement and preparedness – not that it doesn’t want to attack us, but it cannot take such a step because our armed forces have great preparedness. Both the supreme leader, the commander-in-chief [Ali Khamenei], and the government have said repeatedly that anyone who tries to violate our country will strongly regret it.”

Raisi drew particular attention to Iran’s presence on the “high seas in international waters.” Naval tensions in the Persian Gulf and further afield have included US pressure to stop Iran’s oil exports. Following a recent ruling by the Greek supreme court, an Iranian-flagged tanker anchored off Piraeus is expected to retrieve part of its cargo, which had been confiscated by the US in a move that prompted Iran to seize two Greek tankers – which it still holds – in the Persian Gulf.

Source » iranintl