France’s call for further negotiations with Iran over its nuclear accord is “bullying and excessive,” its foreign ministry said Friday, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le-Drian said on Thursday that, following the U.S. pullout from the agreement, Tehran should be ready to negotiate on its future nuclear plans, its ballistic missile arsenal and its role in wars in Syria and Yemen.
“There is no reason, need, reliability or trust for negotiations on issues that are non-negotiable,” foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi also said, according to IRNA.
Le-Drian said Iran “cannot avoid” talks on thorny disagreements with world powers.
“Iran must respect the fundamentals of the JCPOA (nuclear deal) and I think that is the case,” Jean-Yves Le Drian said as he arrived for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Vienna, adding that the accord was “essential for our security and essential for nuclear non-proliferation”.
“But Iran cannot avoid discussions, negotiations on three other major subjects that worry us — the future of Iran’s nuclear commitments after 2025, the ballistic question and the fact there is a sort of ballistic proliferation on the part of Iran… and the role Iran plays to stabilize the whole region.
“We must talk about these three subjects, Iran must be aware of this and that’s the message I send to them from Vienna,” he said.
Le Drian’s latest comments echo some of the reasons given by US President Donald Trump for his dramatic withdrawal from the agreement in May and re-imposition of US sanctions.
Washington says it wants to bring Iran back to the negotiating table but Iranian leaders have expressly ruled out renegotiating the landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, agreed in 2015 by Iran and the US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany.
Since Trump’s move European countries have pledged to find ways to salvage the deal and to keep providing Iran with the economic benefits it received under the agreement.
However, many major companies have already pulled out of Iran for fear of US penalties.
The next phase of renewed US sanctions in November will hit the crucial oil sector.
Iran’s economy has been battered by the return of U.S. sanctions following Trump’s decision, undermining support for the deal within Iran.
On Wednesday Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei said Tehran should be ready to “set aside” the JCPOA if it is no longer in the country’s national interests.