France's Le Drian says more work needed with Iran over ballistics

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While Iran has accepted curbs on its nuclear work - which it says is for purely peaceful purposes - it has repeatedly refused to discuss its missile program, something the United States and European countries have called for.

He urged the European countries not to bend under the U.S. "psychological game" pertaining to Iran's nuclear deal.

For his part, the visiting French minister praised Iran for its full commitment to the JCPOA, saying France is opposed to the U.S. stances on the nuclear accord and believes they undermine the deal.

Europe and the United States have violated the nuclear deal, so are not in position to set conditions for Tehran, Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview published today ahead of a meeting with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian.

French President Emmanuel Macron, during a March 4 phone conversation, urged Rohani to put the "necessary pressure" on the Syrian government to halt "indiscriminate" attacks on civilians in a rebel-held enclave in the eastern Ghouta region.

Iranian university students gathered at Tehran's worldwide 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".

That has slowed Rouhani's efforts to engage with the West, opposed by allies of Iran's top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The statement, made by Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesperson for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, indicates the Islamic Republic's uranium enrichment centrifuges haven't been modified or reduced at all - a blatant violation of the JCPOA.

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On the eve of Le Drian's visit, he told Rouhani France expects Iran to make a "constructive contribution" to solving crises in the Middle East, Macron's office said on Sunday.

As far as this project is concerned, on the day that North Korea claimed it had successfully tested an ICBM capable of reaching the US, Iran announced it was bolstering ties with Pyongyang, which leads to speculation that such a move could bring Iran closer to its goal of acquiring a missile that could reach American shores.

In 2017, France was Iran's second biggest trade partner in the European Union.

"There are programmes for missiles with ranges of several thousand kilometres which are not in line with UN Security Council resolutions and go beyond what is needed to secure Iran's borders", Le Drian told Le Journal du Dimanche on the eve of his visit.

Le Drian said that France is determined to implement and protect the nuclear deal.

The Europeans may have their own criteria in this regard, but they should take into account that Iran will not be indifferent and will take appropriate measures, the head of the Iranian diplomacy warned.

Iran has repeatedly said its missile program is purely defensive and not in violation of the United Nations resolution.

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