Iran criticizes France over missile program stance

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shakes hands with his French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian in Tehran

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shakes hands with his French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian in Tehran

The visit came in the midst of a scramble by European governments to salvage the 2015 deal after US President Donald Trump threatened he would abandon it unless tough new restrictions were placed on Iran before May 12.

Iranian officials have rejected French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian's request for curbing its missile program after a day of tense discussions in Tehran on Monday aimed at salvaging the historic nuclear deal.

Countries selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and its allies must answer for "war crimes" being committed in Yemen, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani told his French counterpart in a phone call on Sunday. "Keeping the commitment of the treaty will show the world that negotiation and diplomacy are the best way to solve problems, but if it collapses, it will imply that talks are a loss of time", he said.

Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, also said Europe should compel the U.S. to abide by the deal, "rather than trying to appease" Washington.

In response to Iranian claims that their ballistic missile program is peaceful, Le Drian said: "Having such tools is not uniquely defensive, given the distance they can reach".

US judge orders ex-drug executive Shkreli to give up $7.36 million
His conviction stems from charges that he defrauded investors in Retrophin, the pharmaceutical company he co-founded. In August, a jury convicted Shkreli of securities fraud while he was a portfolio manager at a hedge fund.

However, recent evidence from the United Nations, which confirms what Saudi Arabia and the USA had already said, shows that Iran has been allowing these "peaceful" weapons to fall into the hand of the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen who fired a series of missiles at Saudi Arabia, in violation of two UN resolutions.

But American sanctions against Iran remain, hindering foreign companies outside of the United States from doing business with Tehran.

"They think that these methods can open the door to negotiations on other issues after the nuclear agreement".

On Tuesday, Ali Akbar Velayati, top adviser of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, said Iran will "never give in" to America's "bullying tactics" by trying to change the nuclear deal. "Therefore, no one should be concerned about Iran's weapons, missiles or strengthening of its defense might", Rouhani stressed.

"Iran's defence power is not a threat to any country, and its enhancement is a function of the security needs", Shamkani was quoted by Tasnim as saying.

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