Iran Says Missile Work Will Continue Despite Western Pressure

Iran Says Missile Work Will Continue Despite Western Pressure

Iran Says Missile Work Will Continue Despite Western Pressure

Ahead of his visit, Le Drian said Iran should address "concerns" over its ballistic missile program or risk new sanctions.

Zarif countered that Europe needed to "play a more constructive role to preserve" the nuclear deal.

European governments have been scrambling to appease Trump and keep the deal intact, and have voiced increasing concern over Iran's missile program.

The Iranian foreign minister also criticized some European countries for "being influenced under USA pressures" over Iran's nuclear deal and missile program.

Le Drian has made it clear to Tehran that he is no "emissary of Donald Trump", the foreign minister's team have told AFP.

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.

Jean-Yves Le Drian aims to save the 2015 nuclear deal, which US President Donald Trump has threatened to quit unless European allies help "fix" it by forcing Iran to change its behaviour in other areas. Hardline media reacted angrily to Le Drian's visit with headlines like "Rude guest" and "Weapons of mass seduction".

The French president called for Iran to put "the necessary pressure" on its Syrian ally, President Bashar al-Assad, to stop "indiscriminate" attacks on civilians.

"The condition for negotiating Iran's missiles is the destruction of the nuclear weapons and long range missiles of the United States and Europe", Iranian Armed Forces spokesperson Masoud Jazayeri was quoted by the state news agency IRNA as saying.

Iran has refused any re-negotiation or additional clauses, arguing that the U.S. has already failed to keep up its end of the bargain on the existing accord.

"France firmly believes that the JCPOA must be implemented".

Iran, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the U.S., UK, France, Russia, and China - Germany and the European Union struck the nuclear deal on July 14, 2015.

"The JCPOA represents a significant gain for verification", Amano said, according to a text of his speech published by his agency.

If the political track looks tricky, France is hoping its cultural diplomacy can offer a more positive flavour to the trip.

Le Drian's will discuss three aspects in Iran: the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Tehran's tests of ballistic missiles and situation in the Middle Eastern region.

"Relations between France and Iran are old and profound because France was a pioneer of archaeological exploration here", said Jean-Luc Martinez, president of the Louvre.

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