Iran foreign minister criticises EU 'extremism' towards Tehran

Iran foreign minister criticises EU 'extremism' towards Tehran

Iran foreign minister criticises EU 'extremism' towards Tehran

This one-day trip is also seen as evidence of the balancing act that France and other European nations find themselves in, following Donald Trump's promise to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal if major flaws aren't fixed.

The senior Iranian commander's remarks came on the same day that Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on global affairs, also said the Islamic Republic's defense program is no concern of other countries.

Asefi added that if Le Drian acknowledges that trying to appease Trump doesn't work and instead plays an effective role in increasing foreign investment in Iran and solving the banking issues, then Tehran-Paris cooperation in the region - including in Lebanon and Syria - will enter a new phase.

On the eve of the French foreign minister's visit to Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, held a phone conversation on Sunday.

Le Drian faced immediate pushback over French concerns about Iran's ballistic missiles, starting with Iranian students waving signs at Iran's Mehrabad International Airport protesting his comments.

The French Foreign Ministry even issued a statement ahead of the trip, which said Le Drian would pursue "a frank and demanding dialogue with Iran".

'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 was quoted by the state news agency IRNA as saying.

"If the worldwide community is to try to convince one side to stay in the nuclear deal, it is Iran and not the U.S., which should be convinced", the top Iranian diplomat said, adding that Washington has not only failed to fully comply with its obligations, but even barred Europe from fulfilling its own commitments. "If not tackled head on, this country risks new sanctions". They should not bow down to Iran's demands.

Iran insists its ballistic missile program is for purely defensive purposes, and has denied accusations by the U.S., France and the United Nations of supplying missile technology to Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have fired ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia. The Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah is fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces.

Le Drian's team has made it clear to Tehran that he is no "emissary of Donald Trump", and wants to preserve the nuclear deal.

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

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