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Iran denies talks with France over missiles, pressure over possible European sanctions

“There has been no talks, whether secret or not secret, about our missile program with France or any other country,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi in a news conference on state TV.

An Iranian ballistic-missile test in October 2015. Credit: Mohammad Agah via Wikimedia Commons.
An Iranian ballistic-missile test in October 2015. Credit: Mohammad Agah via Wikimedia Commons.

Iran denied on Monday that it would have discussions with France regarding the former’s ballistic-missile program after the latter said that it was prepared to enact additional sanctions if European attempts to constrain the Iranian initiative made no progress.

“There has been no talks, whether secret or not secret, about our missile program with France or any other country,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi during a weekly news conference, broadcast live on state TV.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday that his country was set to impose more curbs if progress was not made in negotiations regarding the initiative that Iran said is strictly defensive, but is perceived in the West as a destabilizing aspect in an unpredictable Middle East.

“Our missile program is a defensive program that we only discuss it inside the country,” said Qasemi. “I cannot confirm holding any secret talks with France over our missile program.”

A U.N. Security Council resolution that sealed Iran’s 2015 nuclear accord with major actors that year “called upon” the regime to not work for eight years on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons.

Last month, the United States urged Europe to impose sanctions on Iran in the aftermath of the regime testing a ballistic missile the previous week.

“We would like to see the European Union [impose] sanctions that target Iran’s missile program,” said Brian Hook, senior policy adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State and special envoy for Iran.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the test violated U.N. Security Council resolution 2231 that bans Iran from undertaking “any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic-missile technology.”

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