Iran urges Europe to normalise economic ties with it or face consequences

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif says Tehran will 'take action' if European leaders side with the US

epa07602290 Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Mohamad Ali Alhakim (unseen) at the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Baghdad, Iraq, 26 May 2019. the Iranian official visit comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the US after the declared of an additional 1,500 US troops to the Middle East, a development that Zarif defined as "dangerous".  EPA/MURTAJA LATEEF
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Iran warned Europe that it would face consequences if it did not normalise economic ties with the country after US President Donald Trump imposed sanctions.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Sunday said that European nations were "not in a position to criticise" Tehran for its military capabilities, which he said were necessary for the nation to defend itself.

"The Europeans and other signatories of the [nuclear agreement] should normalise economic ties with Iran," Mr Zarif told the state broadcaster.

"We will halt our commitments or will take action in accordance to their measures."

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will visit Iran this week, where he will explore options for preserving the fraying nuclear non-proliferation pact.

Iranian Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani on Sunday also criticised French President Emmanuel Macron for saying last week in a meeting with US President Donald Trump that they shared the same objectives on Iran.

Mr Macron said France wanted to make sure Tehran did not get nuclear weapons.

"We had an accord until 2025 and we want to go further and have full certainty in the long run, reduce ballistic activity and contain Iran regionally," he said.

Mr Larijani said: "The recent remarks by the French president in a meeting with Trump were shameful and inept.

"Macron's comments did not match what he has been telling our President, Hassan Rouhani, in their meetings and on the phone."

Tension escalated between Washington and Tehran over Mr Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers, which sought to rein in its nuclear programme.

On the anniversary of the withdrawal, Mr Rouhani announced that the country would stop honouring some commitments in the nuclear deal and warned that in 60 days it would scale back more commitments if European signatories failed to shield it against US sanctions.

Iran insists its nuclear activities are peaceful and has repeatedly refused to discuss its missile programme.