France says further sanctions on Iran over ballistic activities "if needed"


"France is fully aware of our country's firm position that Iran's defence affairs are not negotiable", said Qassemi brushing aside the French leader's request, adding that "other issues will not be allowed to be added to it (the deal)".

Tehran expects Paris to remain "realistic, fair and farsighted" when it comes to the sensitive developments in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf regions, Qassemi underlined.

Saudi Arabia v Iran: What's behind bitter feud between Middle Eastern powers?

Qassemi warned France against making "false accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran", adding that the allegations were concocted by a few Gulf states in an attempt to tarnish Tehran's image in the world. Earlier, Saudi Arabia accused Iran of "a clear act of aggression that targets neighboring countries, and threatens peace and security in the region and globally".

His comments came after French President Emmanuel Macron urged firmness with Iran regarding its missile program and influence in the Middle East, in an interview with the United Arab Emirates-based al-Ittihad newspaper.

Saudi Arabia and its allies also accuse Iran of supplying weapons to the Houthi rebels, saying the arms were not present in Yemen before conflict broke out in 2015. The fate of the deal has fallen on the US Congress, which has 60 days to reimpose nuclear sanctions.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of the deal, refusing to recertify that Iran is complying with its obligations and violating the "spirit" of the accord.

France is struggling to avoid a situation where it would have to take sides between Iran and the USA, the arch foes now at loggerheads over Iran's nuclear deal and its missile development, a political analyst said.

"What we have seen, clearly from the results of the ballistic missile attacks, that there have been Iranian markings on those missiles, that's been demonstrated", Harrigian said. "There is no direct link between nuclear and ballistic programs of Iran in the text [of the agreement]", Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in October.