French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that Iran must address international concerns over its ballistic missile program or risk new sanctions.
By: World Israel News Staff
Iran must curb its missile program or face sanctions, France’s top diplomat said.
Speaking ahead of his one-day visit in Tehran, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Sunday that Iran needed to address international concerns over its ballistic missile program or risk new sanctions.
“There are programs for missiles that can travel several thousand kilometers, which are not compatible with UN Security Council resolutions and which exceed the needs of defending Iran’s borders,” Le Drian told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.
“If not tackled head on, this country risks new sanctions,” he added.
Iran’s missiles can currently hit any point in the Middle East, including Israel and US military bases, as well as parts of Europe. Iranian military officials have boasted that the country can easily enough increase the range of its missiles.
The West is also worried about Iranian missiles capable of carrying nuclear payloads.
Ahead of Le Drian’s trip, the French Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying he would pursue “a frank and demanding dialogue with Iran,” including over its ballistic missile program and its belligerent regional activities.
The Iranian foreign ministry on Sunday dismissed Le Drian’s concerns, stressing that Tehran will “continue its defense policies independently.”
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 UN resolutions and rules.
Qassemi blasted attempts to link Iranian missiles to other issues, including the nuclear deal, saying Iran “will not [ask] permission from anyone on how to regulate these policies and will not allow any country to interfere in such issues and Iran’s policies and will not hold talks on such cases.”
On Saturday, Deputy Chief of Staff and Spokesman of Iran’s Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazzayeri announced that Tehran will hold talks on its missile program only if the US and European countries destroy their atomic warheads and long-range missiles.
“Annihilation of the US and Europe’s nuclear weapons and long-range missiles is the prerequisite for negotiations on Iran’s missiles,” Jazzayeri said.
Iranian university students gathered at Tehran’s international Mehrabad airport at on Sunday night to protest Le Drian’s visit and his remarks against the country’s missile program, calling on Tehran to continue progress “in defense fields.”
Iran claims its military development is for defense purposes only. However, many of these weapons were given to the Hezbollah terror organization and used against Israel’s civilian population during the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006.
Iran has repeatedly threatened to use its missiles against Israel.