US, France to pressure Iran on missiles

(MENAFN- Arab Times) trump can't collapse N-deal: Tehran

PARIS, Dec 19, (Agencies): France and the United States are determined to 'vigorously' raise pressure on Iran over its ballistic missile programme, including possibly through sanctions, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said during a visit to Washington.

Le Drian was in the American capital on Monday to meet US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster and US President Donald Trump's special adviser Jared Kushner. Tensions between Iran and France have risen in recent months with both sides repeatedly trading barbs in public, including le Drian accusing Iran of 'hegemonic temptations' in the region.

Iran on Sunday criticised President Emmanuel Macron over his tough stance toward Tehran and said Paris would soon lose its international credibility if it 'blindly follows' US President Donald Trump. 'They didn't like the word, but I stand by it,' Le Drian told reporters. 'Iran's hegemonic temptations in the region is a matter of urgency because it's within the framework of getting peace in Iraq and Syria that we will stop this process.'

Iranian officials have been particularly aggrieved by France's criticism of its ballistic missile tests and suggestions of possible new sanctions over the programme, which Tehran calls solely defensive in nature. Le Drian, who is due in Iran at the beginning of January, said he would tell them clearly of Paris' concerns.

'We are fully determined to press very vigorously on Iran to stop the development of an increasingly significant ballistic capability',' Le Drian said, reiterating that sanctions were possible. Macron, unlike Trump, has reaffirmed his country's commitment to the deal Iran signed in 2015 with world powers under which it curbed its disputed nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of most international sanctions. After talks with the US officials, Le Drian said he believed that Washington was beginning to understand European messages on the need to maintain the accord. Iran said on Tuesday US President Donald Trump cannot cause its nuclear deal with six major powers to collapse. 'The nuclear deal will not collapse … Those who hope that Trump will cause its collapse, are wrong,'

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on State TV. In October, Trump declined to certify that Iran was complying with the nuclear agreement reached among Tehran, the United States and other powers in 2015. His decision triggered a 60-day window for Congress to decide whether to bring back sanctions on Iran. Congress passed the ball back to Trump by letting the deadline on reimposing sanctions on Iran pass last week. Trump must decide in mid-January if he wants to continue to waive energy sanctions on Iran. Under the deal, nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted last year, in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear programme. Iran has said it will stick to the accord as long as the other signatories respect it, but will 'shred' the deal if Washington pulls out.


Arab Times

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