Iran has strongly censured France for threatening to impose new sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its missile program, vowing to reconsider its relations with European countries in case such bans are imposed.
The remarks were made by Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi in reaction to earlier comments by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
“Iran’s military capabilities are part of the country’s legitimate defense power and a guarantor of the Islamic Republic’s national security, which is based on the doctrine of deterrence,” Qassemi said Friday.
“The Islamic Republic has designed its defense capabilities based on a realistic assessment of the existing threats,” he said, vowing that the country would strengthen such capabilities to the extent it deems necessary.
“Iran’s missile capability is not negotiable, and this has been brought to the attention of the French side during the ongoing political dialogue between Iran and France,” he said.
Iran says all its missile-related activities are in full compliance with the relevant provisions of UNSC Resolution 2231.
Qassemi further noted that Le Drian’s threat to impose new missile sanctions is against the spirit of political talks and cooperation between the two countries.
He also vowed that Iran will reconsider its interaction with European countries in case these states impose any new sanctions against Tehran.
“Iran has always sought to consolidate peace and stability in the region, and believes the mass sale of sophisticated and assault weapons by the US and some European countries, including France, has undermined regional stability and balance,” he said.
Qassemi’s remarks came after the top French diplomat said his country is ready to impose further sanctions on Iran if no progress is made in talks over Tehran’s ballistic missile program.
“We are ready, if the talks don’t yield results, to apply sanctions firmly, and they know it,” Le Drian told reporters.
Diplomats previously told Reuters that new sanctions being considered by EU countries over the missile issue could include asset freezes and travel bans on the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRCG) and people involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program.
Le Drian’s threatening remarks come as the European Union is expected to launch its exclusive payment mechanism, known as Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), for facilitating non-dollar trade with Iran in a bid to circumvent the US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
France says it expects Iran-EU trade mechanism to be established in ‘coming days.’
The SPV “should be implemented in the coming days,” Le Drian told the French parliament’s foreign affairs committee on Wednesday.
“It will work as a sort of clearing house that will allow in euros for Iran to benefit from some of its oil resources and at the same time buy essential products from the main three main (European) partners,” he added.
In May 2018, US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, under which Tehran agreed to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions, and decided to re-impose unilateral sanctions against Tehran.