French FM faces criticism on Iran visit

UN Nuclear Watchdog: Iran-Accord Failure Would Be 'Great Loss'

But the key focus has been the 120-day deadline set by Trump in January for United States lawmakers and European allies to "fix" the nuclear deal, removing "sunset clauses" that mean it expires in 2026 and reining in Iran's missile programme and regional activities.

'The condition for negotiating Iran's missiles is the destruction of the nuclear weapons and long-range missiles of the United States and Europe, ' Iranian Armed Forces spokesman Masoud Jazayeri was quoted by the state news agency IRNA as saying.

In his meeting with Foreign Minister Le Drian, Zarif also said Iran's military power is for deterrence.

Iran said on Monday it could produce higher enriched uranium within two days if the United States quit a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six major powers, Tehran's Arabic language al-Alam TV reported.

France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrived in the Iranian capital Tehran Monday for meetings with President Hassan Rouhani and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif to discuss developments in the Syrian Civil War and Paris' criticism of Tehran's ballistic missile program.

The deal, which doesn't cover Iran's missile program, requires the removal of anti-Iran sanctions in exchange for Iran stopping its military nuclear program.

Le Drian also pressed Iran on the activities of its ally, the Syrian government, amid the ongoing bombardment of civilians in the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus.

The senior Iranian commander's remarks came on the same day that Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on global affairs, also said the Islamic Republic's defense program is no concern of other countries. Le Drian's visit was originally scheduled for January, but it was delayed after student-led street protests broke out in many Iranian cities.

Despite their differences, Iran has welcomed French efforts to re-engage economically and politically with the Islamic republic.

In 2017, France was Iran's second biggest trade partner in the European Union.

The ministry said it wanted Iran to contribute in a "positive" manner to solving crises in the Middle East.

Zarif also said Iran's missile program is not included in the JCPOA and the UN Security Council resolution 2231 which confirmed the JCPOA. An official close to Rouhani said Iran "has always been open to talks and to resolve issues through diplomacy. but this does not mean we will yield to unjust pressure over our inevitable rights, whether defensive or anything else".

Le Drian has made it clear to Tehran that he is no "emissary of Donald Trump", the foreign minister's team have told AFP. "We have our own concerns and will talk to the different sensibilities of the Iranian system to get our point across".

Britain, France and Germany are reportedly working with U.S. officials to draw up a strategy to "improve" the Iran nuclear deal in return for Trump keeping the pact alive.

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