Iran Hits Back at French ‘Bullying’ over Disputed Missile Program

Iranians walk past Sejjil (L) and Qadr-H medium range ballistic missiles displayed next to a portrait of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the occasion of the annual defence week which marks the anniversary of the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, on September 25, 2017, on Baharestan square in Tehran. / …

Iran disputed France’s calls for more talks on it missile program, calling them “bullying and excessive,” its foreign ministry confirmed Friday.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le-Drian said on Thursday Tehran should negotiate on its future nuclear plans, its ballistic missile arsenal and its role in wars in Syria and Yemen, urging a collaborative approach across the whole European Union (EU).

“Iran must respect the fundamentals of the JCPOA [nuclear deal] and I think that is the case,” Le Drian said as he arrived for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Vienna.

He then cautioned Iran saying it cannot avoid discussions on three other major subjects: the future of Iran’s nuclear commitments after 2025, the ballistic question and ballistic proliferation on the part of Iran.

“We must talk about these three subjects, Iran must be aware of this and that’s the message I send to them from Vienna,” Le Drian added.

France, Germany, and Britain are leading European efforts to save the landmark 2015 deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, which was thrown into crisis in May when U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew and reimposed sanctions.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi criticized Le Drian’s remarks, saying such “unwarranted concerns” are rooted in his “wrong perceptions” of the program.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly declared its clear and transparent stance on unwarranted concerns rooted in some countries’ wrong perceptions and ignorance,” Qassemi said in a statement on Friday.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has always shown that it has never been fearful of dialogue and negotiation and that it believes in it,” he said.

Qassemi said Iran will push back against “the bullying and excessive demands” of France’s partners, saying there is no reason for Iran to trust and negotiate on “unnegotiable issues.”

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