A senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader today accused French President Emmanuel Macron of being the political “apprentice” of his American counterpart, Fars news agency reported. “If France is trying to retain some respectability on the international scene, it should not be the subordinate of the Americans and it must learn not to follow in (Donald) Trump’s steps,” said Ali Akbar Velayati, senior foreign policy adviser to Ayatollah Khamenei. “Today, the French president is the apprentice of Trump in Europe,” he added according to Fars, a news agency close to Iranian conservatives.
Macron, who has announced plans to visit Iran in 2018, has been regularly criticised by the country’s conservative media over comments he made in November about its ballistic missile programme. In an interview published on November 8 by the Emirati newspaper Al-Ittihad, the French president called for vigilance towards Tehran. “It is important to remain firm with Iran over its regional activities and its ballistic programme,” Macron was quoted as saying.
He also told the Emirati daily there was no immediate alternative to the nuclear deal with world powers — long lambasted by Trump — which curbs Iran’s nuclear programme. France also came under fire in Iran last month after its foreign minister sparked Tehran’s ire by accusing it of “hegemonic” ambitions in the Middle East. President Hassan Rouhani phoned Macron to complain, and said Iran did not seek to “dominate” the Middle East.