Iran criticizes France over missile program stance


Talks are expected to focus on Iran's involvement in the Syrian Civil war and Iran's ballistic missile program, which both Le Drian and French President Emmanuel Macron have criticized Iran's missile program in recent weeks, with Le Drian stating that Iran's ballistic missile capacity anxious France "enormously".

Abolghassem Delfi, Iran's ambassador to France, has said that Tehran and Paris ties have been on a positive trend since the conclusion of the 2015 nuclear deal.

"The United States and other countries that have turned our region into a gunpowder depot by selling arms must stop such actions", Zarif said, according to a report by the semi-official ISNA news agency.

"Iran has learned to rely on its deterrent power", Zarif said.

"It would be a point of regret for everyone" if the deal is not honored, Rouhani said, adding that his country is "ready to deal with any situation that is not agreeable to Iran".

The Iranians appeared less interested in thrashing out the issue with their soon-to-be guest, however, issuing a curt reminder to Le Drian ahead of his visit.

Le Drian earlier said Iran "risks new sanctions" if it does not address concerns on its ballistic missile programme. "Having such tools is not uniquely defensive, given the distance they can reach".

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Jazayeri's comments came as French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian was in Tehran to hold talks with Iranian officials over different issues. "If not tackled head on, this country risks new sanctions".

Moreover, Javan newspaper, which is affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), wrote March 6 that Le Drian was surprised when he saw Shamkhani, who is a former defense minister and IRGC commander, in his military uniform.

Since the lifting of the sanctions in January 2016, French automakers have piled into Iran's resurgent market, helping turn around a period of slipping sales, which occurred when they left the country in 2012.

Macron also has said he wants to see the emergence of an accord limiting Iran's regional presence.

"Europe must put the USA under pressure to implement its commitments and not allow the U.S. to make illogical and unlawful demands despite its lack of commitment and violations [of its commitments]", Zarif said in a meeting with France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Tehran on Monday.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has on various occasions emphasized the necessity for incessant progress of the Iranian Armed Forces irrespective of political developments.

During his visit, Le Drian also inaugurated an exhibition called "The Louvre in Tehran" at the Iranian National Museum.