Iran nuclear deal 'not negotiable', Tehran tells France

Remarks follow French president Emmanuel Macron's call for vigilance over Islamic republic's ballistic missile programme and regional activities in an interview published by Al Ittihad

France's president Emmanuel Macron (L) greets Iranian president Hassan Rouhani at the Millennium Hotel near the United Nations on September 18, 2017, in New York. / AFP PHOTO / LUDOVIC MARIN
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The nuclear deal Tehran struck with world powers is "not negotiable", Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi said in response to remarks by the French president.

In an interview published on Wednesday by UAE newspaper Al Ittihad, Emmanuel Macron called for vigilance regarding Tehran, its ballistic missile programme and regional activities.

"We have told French leaders on several occasions that the Iran nuclear deal is not negotiable and that no other issues can be included in the text" of the 2015 agreement, state news agency Irna on Saturday quoted Mr Ghassemi as saying.

France, he said, is "fully aware of our country's intangible position concerning the issue of Iran's defensive affairs which are not negotiable".


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In the interview with Al Ittihad, which was published during Mr Macron's 24-hour visit to Abu Dhabi, the French president said: "It is important to remain firm with Iran over its regional activities and its ballistic programme."

Mr Macron also said, however, that there was no immediate alternative to the nuclear deal, which curbs Iran's programme in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

France has been trying to salvage the 2015 accord which Iran signed with six world powers — Britain, China, Germany, France, Russia and the United States — as the deal is traduced by US president Donald Trump.

On October 13, Mr Macron told Iranian president Hassan Rouhani that France was committed to the deal.

But the French president stressed it was also necessary to have a dialogue with Iran on other issues, including Tehran's ballistic missile programme and regional security, a proposal ruled out by Iran.

Mr Macron's visit last week to Abu Dhabi came amid renewed tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia following the resignation of Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri over the influence of Hizbollah — which is backed by Tehran — in his country. Mr Hariri, who has close ties with Saudi Arabia, announced his resignation from the kingdom.


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