Western allies voice concern at Iran-Russia defence ties

The US, British, French and German foreign ministers on Saturday expressed concern over the deepening cooperation between Russia and Iran, the manufacturer of drones the West says Moscow deploys in Ukraine.

Western allies voice concern at Iran-Russia defence ties
French President Emmanuel Macron is displayed on screens as he addresses participants of the Munich Security Conference. Photo: Odd ANDERSEN/AFP

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with France’s Catherine Colonna, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and UK counterpart James Cleverly on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, a statement said.

They “discussed their concerns about the deepening two-way military cooperation between Iran and Russia, and its implications for the security and stability of the region awnd beyond,” a statement by Blinken’s spokesman said.

“They underscored their concern about Iran’s nuclear escalation and its lack of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, calling on Iran to reverse course.”

Negotiations on Tehran’s contested nuclear policy with the West aimed at reviving a landmark deal have been in the doldrums for several months.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is on top of the agenda at the Munich conference, being attended by world leaders.

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More demos, strikes and garbage – what to expect in France this week

From strikes and demos to political fireworks and 'spontaneous protests' - here's what to expect this week in France as protests continue over the government's controversial pension reform bill.

More demos, strikes and garbage - what to expect in France this week


The big event on Monday is in parliament, where the government faces a no-confidence vote over its use of Article 49.3 to push through the pension reform bill without consultation. MPs are due to vote later on Monday.

EXPLAINED: What does Monday’s no-confidence vote mean for Macron and France?

Strikes continue on certain industries with 30 percent of flights cancelled in and out of Paris Orly airport and 20 percent cancelled at Marseille airport due to air traffic controllers’ strikes. The railways will also see significant disruption.

In Paris the Metro is running normal services, but several of the stations close to the parliament have been closed by order of the police, for security reasons.

The government has begun moves to force striking refuse collectors back to work, but expect to see a lot of garbage still piled up on the street (around 10,000 tonnes remained uncollected at the last count).

There is also the likelihood of more demos later in the day when the parliamentary vote gets underway.

Tuesday and Wednesday

Employees in certain industries have declared ‘rolling’ strikes, so disruption on railways is expected to continue through Tuesday and Wednesday, while the civil aviation authority has again ordered the cancelled of 20 percent of flights in and out of Paris Orly and Marseille airports on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Other airports should be unaffected by cancellations but there is the risk of knock-on disruption and delays.

There will probably still be quite a lot of garbage in Paris.


Thursday is scheduled as the next big one-day strike, with widespread disruption expected on public services including transport and in schools.

Previous one-day strikes have varied in their impact, but it’s likely that there will be reduced service on the railways and on city public transport including in Paris and more cancelled flights. Schools are also likely to see some closes classes as teachers walk out.

Transport operators will publish detailed strike timetables on Wednesday – you can find the latest information on services in our strike section HERE.

There are also plans for large, organised demonstrations in towns and cities around France – these will be marches with a planned route rather than the spontaneous gatherings which happened last week after news that the pension reform bill would be pushed through without a parliamentary vote.


Most strikers will go back to work on Friday, although some of the more militant unions may extend their rolling strike actions. Unions leaders will decide on Thursday evening whether to call fresh one-day strikes or take a different action, and their decision will largely be based on turnout on Thursday.