Paris Urged to Revise Approach to Tehran

While supporting Iran’s opposition to reopening the nuclear deal, France has raised the need for separate talks over Iran’s missile program and regional role
Bahram QasemiBahram Qasemi

Iran dismissed a call by French President Emanuel Macron for negotiations to curtail Tehran's defense power, advising him to take a more sophisticated approach to regional developments.

"The French and other statesmen who comment on Iran-related issues should take careful notice of the deep developments in the region over the past few decades and the many ways in which the current situation differs from the past," Foreign Ministry Bahram Qasemi told state TV on Monday, Fars News Agency reported.

He was responding to a question about Macron's insistence on curbing Iran's missile program and regional activities.

Macron said last month that "we want an Iran that is a less aggressive power and for its ballistic missile program to be curtailed. But Iran is a regional power and we speak to them."

The statement prompted criticism from Iranian officials, including Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to the Leader of Islamic Revolution, who said on Saturday, "It does not benefit Mr. Macron and France to interfere on the missile issue and the strategic affairs of the Islamic Republic, toward which we have high sensitivities."

The French position appears to be aimed at appeasing its main ally, the United States, whose hawkish president has demanded that the Islamic Republic's military power be contained or it would pull the US out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal reached under his predecessor Barack Obama.

Trump has called for amendments to the UN-backed deal to accommodate his concerns, which have nothing to do with the deal.

Under the landmark agreement with the six major powers, Iran accepted temporary curbs on its nuclear work in exchange for the easing of international sanctions.

Tehran and other signatories to the deal have ruled out a renegotiation of the pact, highlighting the commitment made by other parties to limit the scope of the nuclear deal.

"They [French authorities] should be more careful when analyzing the issues in their remarks because the Islamic Republic of Iran will definitely not discuss defense and missile issues," Qasemi reiterated.

While supporting Iran's opposition to reopening the accord, France has raised the need for talks over Iran's missile program and regional role under a separate mechanism from the nuclear negotiations.

It had demanded Iran put an end to its ballistic missile activities and even raised the possibility of imposing new sanctions on the country.

Iranian officials deny allegations against Tehran's missile activities, stressing that the program is purely defensive in nature and part of the Islamic Republic's deterrence doctrine.

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