Iran has said Europe is not in a position to criticise Tehran for its military capabilities, calling upon European leaders to normalise economic ties with the Islamic Republic despite US sanctions or face consequences.
- Iran issued the warning to France, the UK and Germany as it unveiled a new air defence system
- European powers still defend the Obama-era deal as being the best way to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities
- Germany’s foreign minister will visit Iran to explore options to repair the pact
President Donald Trump last year withdrew the US from a nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions.
Mr Trump has condemned a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, signed by his predecessor Barack Obama, as flawed for not being permanent and for not covering Iran’s ballistic missile program or its role in conflicts around the Middle East.
The European signatories to the deal — France, Britain and Germany — share the same concerns as the US over Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional activities.
However, they have defended the nuclear accord as the best way to limit Iran’s enrichment of uranium, a potential pathway to nuclear weapons, and a basis for future negotiations on a broader palette of security and other longstanding disputes.
“Europeans are not in a position to criticise Iran for issues outside the JCPOA,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted as saying by the state broadcaster, using the acronym for the nuclear deal.
“The Europeans and other signatories of the JCPOA should normalise economic ties with Iran … we will halt our commitments or will take action in accordance to their measures.”
Last month, Iran scaled back some commitments under the 2015 deal and warned that in 60 days it would resume enriching uranium to a higher degree than was permitted by the accord if the Europeans failed to shield it against the US sanctions, which aim to cripple its oil-dependent economy.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will visit Iran this week to explore options for preserving the fraying nuclear non-proliferation pact.
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani on Sunday criticised French President Emmanuel Macron for saying last week in a meeting with Mr Trump that they shared the same objectives on Iran.
“We had an accord until 2025 and we want to go further and have full certainty in the long run … [then] reduce ballistic activity and contain Iran regionally,” Mr Macron said, emphasising that France wanted to make sure Tehran will not get nuclear weapons.
“The recent remarks by the French president in a meeting with Trump were shameful and inept,” Mr Larijani was quoted as saying by state media.
“Macron’s comments did not match what he has been telling our president … in their meetings and on the phone.”
Iran insists its nuclear activities are entirely peaceful, and has repeatedly refused to discuss its missile program.
Tehran unveiled on Sunday a new “domestically-produced” air defence system with the capability to trace six targets — including fighter jets, bombers and drones at the same time and destroy them with missiles.
“Iran will increase its military capabilities to protect its national security and interests, and it will not ask permission from anyone on this matter,” Defence Minister Amir Hatami said at an unveiling ceremony for the system.