Sunday, March 4, 2018

‘Ain’t your business’: Iran defends right to missiles after France warns of possible sanctions

RT | Mar 4, 2018

Iran must negotiate over its missile program or risk new sanctions, France has warned. The French foreign minister arrives in Tehran on Monday for high-level talks – but the Iranians say their missiles aren’t Paris’ business.

There are ballistic programs of missiles that can reach several thousand kilometers which are not compatible with UN Security Council resolutions, and exceed the sole need of defending Iran’s borders,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told local press ahead of his scheduled trip to Tehran. “If not tackled head on, this country risks new sanctions.”

In a separate statement, Le Drian called upon the international community to take action to prevent Iranian missiles from becoming a threat to “all regional actors.” The diplomat said he would raise the matter during his planned meetings with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and other senior Iranian officials in Tehran.

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. "No country can decide for us or others. It is the Islamic Republic who would decide on the type of missile it can possess," Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran's supreme leader, said on Saturday. He added that Le Drian should adopt a less critical approach towards Iran if France hopes to strengthen relations between the two countries.

Tehran has repeatedly stated that the country’s missile program is purely defensive, but says it would consider negotiations if the United States and its nuclear-armed allies first dismantled their weapons of mass destruction.
“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 spokesman Masoud Jazayeri said on Saturday, as cited by state media.

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