French FM in Iran... No Agreement on Ballistic Missile Program

French FM in Iran... No Agreement on Ballistic Missile Program

Tuesday, 6 March, 2018 - 11:15
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian meets his Iranian counterpart in Tehran on Monday. (AFP)
London - Adel al-Salmi
Senior Iranian officials on Monday were involved in tough talks with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian over the nuclear deal, ballistic missiles and Iran's role in the Middle East.

The Iranians insisted on rejecting international action aimed at containing the development of the missile program, and President Hasan Rouhani insisted on maintaining the nuclear agreement and supporting the "central government in Damascus."

Le Drian began his long day of consultations by meeting Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, who reiterated Iran's refusal to stop developing the missile program.

During his meeting with the French FM, Rouhani described the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as a test for all negotiating parties, underscoring that the collapse of the nuclear deal will bring “regret” to all sides. He stressed that Iran will be ready to confront any conditions that are imposed against its will.

He insisted that Iran will never be the first party to violate the JCPOA and "considered the agreement effective in bolstering trust, peace, cooperation and regional and international stability".

According to the Iranian presidency website, Rouhani and Le Drian discussed developments in the Middle East, namely in Yemen, Lebanon and Syria.

Concluding his tour, the French official indicated that there was “still a lot of work to do” on Iran’s missile program.

On Lebanon, with Rouhani said: "France and Iran have played a positive role in solving the recent issues in Lebanon.

Addressing Syria, he indicated that the only way to resolve its crisis is through strengthening the central government in Damascus. The fight for the complete eradication of terrorism and helping the Syrian people were one of the top priorities of Iran-France cooperation in the region.

For his part, Le Drian said that Iran and France can cooperate well together in promoting regional stability and security, particularly by preventing humanitarian disasters and resolving regional crises.

Earlier, the French official had held talks with Shamkhani, who said that Iran's ballistic missiles were in line with its defensive policy, which poses no threat to any country.

Le Drian met with his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif to discuss bilateral relations, as well as the nuclear deal, US efforts to hamper the deal’s implementation and regional issues, especially the latest developments in Syria and Yemen.

A foreign ministry statement released after the talks did not refer to Iran's ballistic missile program.

“As a multi-lateral deal which came to fruition through the joint efforts of several sides including the European states, the JCPOA has been prone to illogical and politically-motivated tricks of the US,” Zarif said. He noted that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed Iran’s commitment to the JCPOA, renewing his demands that Europe can play a more constructive role in preserving this deal.

“Europe should completely fulfill its commitments under the deal and at the same time put pressure on the US to remain committed to it. It should not allow the US to press ahead with its illogical and illegal demands along with violation of the deal and efforts to hamper its implementation,” he said.

Zarif claimed that the Iranian ballistic missiles file is not related to the nuclear agreement and "even Resolution 2231 confirms this."

Under the non-binding Resolution 2231, Iran is required not to manufacture ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads or can be developed later to carry nuclear warheads.

Editor Picks