Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Iran Rejects French Calls to Stop Developing Missile Program

Iran Japan Iran Rejects French Calls to Stop Developing Missile Program
Charlie Simmons | 08 March, 2018, 02:14

Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency is reporting that France's foreign minister has arrived in Tehran amid French criticism of Tehran's ballistic missile program.

The French minister had arrived in Iran on Sunday on a delicate mission to reaffirm Europe's support for a nuclear deal that opened Iran's economy, while echoing USA concern about Tehran's missile program and role in regional conflicts. Le Drian's office says a key part of the trip will be diplomacy over the war in Syria and trying to get Iran to use its influence on Syrian President Bashar Assad to agree to a cease-fire.

An Iranian nuclear energy official on Monday warned that his country is able to create highly enriched uranium in "less than 48 hours", should the United States drop out of the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Iran insists its ballistic missile program is for purely defensive purposes, and has denied accusations by the U.S., France and the United Nations of supplying missile technology to Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have fired ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia.

The interview came on the same day Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - in America for the annual AIPAC conference in Washington, DC - was slated to meet with US President Donald Trump to discuss the JCPOA.

Besides, Europe should not allow the United States to pose "illogical and illegal" demands concerning Iran's nuclear deal, Zarif said.

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano told Press-TV that Iran has been compliant with the deal - and the JCPOA's collapse would be "a great loss".

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However, Zarif noted that the nuclear deal, internationally known as JCPOA, is a multilateral agreement and its fate can not be subjected to the whims of Washington.

As mentioned by the confidential IAEA report, Amano also said the agency had requested clarification from Iran about its plans for nuclear-powered naval vessels, suggesting the IAEA has still not heard back from the Islamic Republic.

In the meantime, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani on Monday urged the European countries not to bend under the U.S.

Le Drian said that Paris is determined to implement the JCPOA and has taken many practical measures in this regard.

"Any move to undermine the JCPOA would result in the loss of credibility of other worldwide agreements", said Shamkhani.

"We want to preserve the nuclear deal because it is working, it's robust and because the Iranians are respecting it", his team told AFP ahead of the visit.

Le Drian said that both countries had new plans for boosting cooperation in monetary and banking interactions.

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