Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Iran pushes Europe to pressure USA on nuclear deal

French Foreign Minister Arrives in Tehran Amid Row Over Ballistic Missile Program ANALYSIS: How Iran deal aided the regime's bid for hegemonic control
Glenn Montgomery | 08 March, 2018, 02:14

An Iranian nuclear energy official on Monday warned that his country is able to create highly enriched uranium in "less than 48 hours", should the United States drop out of the 2015 nuclear agreement.

The meeting Monday drew protests from a number of university students in front of the foreign ministry in Tehran.

He urged the European countries not to bend under the USA "psychological game" pertaining to Iran's nuclear deal.

Earlier, Iran said it will not negotiate over its ballistic missiles until the United States and Europe dismantle nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, a top Iranian military official said on Saturday.

"There are programmes for missiles with ranges of several thousand kilometres which are not in line with UN Security Council resolutions and go beyond what is needed to secure Iran's borders", Le Drian told Le Journal du Dimanche on the eve of his visit.

Le Drian did not meet with anyone from Iran's Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary force that answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and runs the ballistic missile program.

"The Iranian authorities told me of their heavy concerns on the humanitarian situation in Syria and their desire to see an end to this catastrophe", Le Drian told reporters.

Trump has threatened to withdraw the United States from the accord between Tehran and six world powers, signed in 2015 before he took office, unless Congress and European allies help "fix" it with a follow-up pact.

Despite Le Drian's tough talk on missiles, France remains firmly behind the agreement.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday voiced his support for the 2015 nuclear deal which limited Iran's nuclear activities in returns for the lift of western sanctions against Tehran.

Yukiya Amano said that if the deal "were to fail it would be a great loss for nuclear verification and multilateralism".

The head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday that "Iran is implementing its nuclear related commitments" and that "it is essential that Iran continues to do so".

If the political track looks tricky, France is hoping its cultural diplomacy can offer a more positive flavour to the trip.

Iranian university students gathered at Tehran's worldwide Mehrabad airport at on Sunday night to protest Le Drian's visit and his remarks against the country's missile program, calling on Tehran to continue progress "in defense fields".

In his interview, Kamalvandi said that Iran has developed highly advanced centrifuges that are 24 times more powerful than the previous models used.

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