French Foreign Minister Arrives in Tehran Amid Row Over Ballistic Missile Program

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi

Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said on Saturday that the Islamic Republic would hold no negotiations over its missile program unless the United States and Europe dismantle their nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

He expressed confidence that Iran would not allow anyone to interfere in the type of defense equipment it can possess in the field of conventional weapons, whether missile or others.

Le Drian added that Tehran and Paris have started positive banking cooperation and noted that the French companies' investment in Iran had considerably increased after the JCPOA took effect.

Iran said on Monday it could produce higher enriched uranium within two days if the United States quit a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six major powers, Tehran's Arabic language al-Alam TV reported.

A display featuring missiles and a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran September 27, 2017.

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France has been quick to restore trade ties.

In an effort to keep him on board, French President Emmanuel Macron has criticized Iran's ballistics program and raised the possibility of new sanctions. On the eve of Le Drian's visit, Macron told Rouhani by phone that France expects Iran to make a "constructive contribution" to solving crises in the region.

"Protecting this diplomatic achievement must be equally important for all of us and verbal support is not enough", Zarif told his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian at a meeting in Tehran.

Iran will boost its defensive power including the missile capabilities and its deterrent plan will not be affected by the political pressures, the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said.

Larijani further hailed Iran and Turkey for showing perseverance in the fight against terrorism, "and there are other countries that want continuous and extensive cooperation in this regard".

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Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi described Iran's missile program as "fully defensive and deterrent in nature to safeguard the country's territorial integrity, independence and freedom", asserting that Iran's missile program is not in violation of the United Nations resolutions and rules.

Iranian officials have repeatedly said that the country's missile and nuclear programs are intended for defensive purposes and are non-negotiable as they are "for peaceful purposes".

The resolution calls on Tehran to refrain from work on missiles created to carry nuclear warheads, although this is not in the accord itself.

Iran could produce higher enriched uranium within 48 hours if the USA ditches the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers.

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