Iranians Hold Protest Rally against Fabius’ Presence in Tehran
Tens of Iranian university students and people held a rally at Tehran International Airport in protest at the visit of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to the country.
The protesters chanted slogans such as “Aids, A French Gift to Iran”, “We Neither Forgive nor Forget”, “Fabius, Servant of the US, Spy of Israel” and “No Welcome to Aids Lord”.
Fabius arrived in Tehran on Wednesday morning. It is the first visit by a French foreign minister to Iran in 12 years.
While in Tehran, the French foreign minister is set to hold talks with President Hassan Rouhani, his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammadreza Nematzadeh and Vice-President and Head of the Department of Environment (DOE) Massoumeh Ebtekar.
On the threshold of Fabius’s trip to Tehran, Iranian social and health activists launched the “Fabius Apology Needed” campaign in defense of the victims of France’s ‘infected blood’ scandal in Iran.
“Fabius’ name is attached to enmity with Iranians thanks to France’s ‘infected blood’ scandal (1980s),” a family member of one of the scandal victims told FNA on Sunday.
“He was the then-French prime minister, when blood products contaminated with HIV were imported from France and transfused to Iranian hemophiliacs in 1984-1985,” she said.
“He plans to take this trip, while his government has never apologized for the blood scandal, neither offered Iran any redress,” an Iranian health activist said.
“The French official’s travel coincides with Support for Hemophilia Week in Iran and Iranians are not eager to see him here,” she added.
“His name also reminds Iranians of his tough line during Iran’s nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) during the past two years,” analyst Seyed Mostafa Behnam said, adding that the stances of the French were even harsher than those of the US during the talks, and almost pushed the negotiations into failure only two days before the initial agreement between Iran and the six world powers in Geneva in November, 2013.
“Fabius put a spanner in the wheel of negotiations due to his affiliations with the Israeli lobbyists and Saudi petrodollars,” he added.
The French foreign minister sounded extremely harsh, especially in the last week of the talks in the Austrian capital, when his antagonistic moves eventually incited the Iranian president to caution Paris about the repercussions of its stance. Fabius, who is worried about Iran’s posture towards French companies in post sanction-era, has directly stated that Iran should not force the French firms to pay the price for France’s hard line during the negotiations.