France warns of sanctions - Iran denies link to Bahrain cell

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shakes hands with his French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian in Tehran

Rouhani's comment came as a senior Revolutionary Guard official vowed on Tuesday that Iran will defy pressure to scale back the country's ballistic missile programme - part of a new push by US President Donald Trump to renegotiate the original pact signed in 2015.

In his meeting with Zarif on March 5, Le Drian brought up Iran's missile capabilities, a statement that led Zarif to say March 5, "Iran's military capability is for defending the country and is a deterrent, and given the bitter experience of the imposed [1980-88 Iran-Iraq] war, Iran has learned to rely on its deterrence power for protecting its citizens".

In response to Iranian claims that their ballistic missile program is peaceful, Le Drian said: "Having such tools is not uniquely defensive, given the distance they can reach".

That continued with Iran's armed forces spokesman, Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, who this weekend said over the weekend that Tehran would only give up its missiles when the West abandons nuclear arms.

"If the global community is to try to convince one side to stay in the nuclear deal, it is Iran and not the USA, which should be convinced", the top Iranian diplomat said, adding that Washington has not only failed to fully comply with its obligations, but even barred Europe from fulfilling its own commitments. However, the historic agreement did not touch upon missile development, and efforts by the United States and its European allies to use the deal to force greater concessions from Tehran have greatly frustrated Iran.

It's unclear how much of an effect Le Drian's talks will have in Iran, especially as newspapers greeted him Monday with headlines calling him an "impudent guest" and "Trump's Parisian servant".

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"Iran's defence power is not a threat to any country, and its enhancement is a function of the security needs", Shamkani was quoted by Tasnim as saying.

Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron said that "Iran should be monitored for its ballistic missiles program".

"What Americans say out of desperation with regards to limiting the Islamic Republic of Iran's missile capabilities is an unattainable dream resulting from their regional failures and defeats", Jazayeri added.

The French foreign minister, for his part, said his country is strongly determined to implement the JCPOA and has carried out many practical measures in this regard.

In 2017, France was Iran's second biggest trade partner in the European Union. They should not bow down to Iran's demands.

The diplomat said he would raise the matter during his planned meetings with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and other senior Iranian officials in Tehran.

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