France tells Iran risks sanctions if ballistic missile issue not handled

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Iran's foreign minister slammed the European Union for "extremism" in relationship to Tehran in an interview published Monday ahead of a meeting with his French counterpart.

The comments came the same day that Iran's armed forces spokesman said there could be no talks on the country's missile programme without the West's destruction of its own nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

France will continue to maintain dialogue with Iran over the latter's nuclear program and, as part of the nuclear deal, plans to preserve the agreement, the French Foreign Ministry said Sunday, on the eve of Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian visit to Tehran.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on March 4 that during his two-day visit to Tehran, Le Drian is due to meet with President Hassan Rohani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to discuss "bilateral, regional, and global issues", including the implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers under which Tehran has signiifcantly limited its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

"At present, two groups have violated the nuclear deal: the United States and the Europeans".

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Elaborating on his meeting with Kerry, he said "during the talks, we mainly talked about Trump's plan for the JCPOA and exchanged views on appropriate policies to isolate him at the worldwide arena".

Zarif also hit out at the "error" by European nations including France and the United Kingdom of backing regional rival Saudi Arabia as it heads a coalition fighting rebels in Yemen.

Le Drian has made it clear to Tehran that he is no "emissary of Donald Trump", the foreign minister's team have said.

Iran will not negotiate over its ballistic missiles until the United States and Europe dismantle their nuclear weapons, a top Iranian military official said on Saturday, keeping up the Islamic republic's tough stance on the issue.

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