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Paris, Berlin Want Tehran to Abandon Ballistic Program

Paris, Berlin Want Tehran to Abandon Ballistic Program

Tuesday, 5 December, 2017 - 14:15
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds a news conference during a North Atlantic Council (NAC) defense ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium November 9, 2017. Reuters

At the time when Paris and Berlin stressed the need for Tehran to abandon its development of ballistic missiles and as its agenda to impose its hegemony in the Middle East, Tehran remained committed to its missile program, asserting that it is "non-negotiable."

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France and Germany agree that Iran must "roll back" its ballistic-missile program and its "hegemonic temptations" across the Middle East.

Le Drian made the comments in Paris on Monday at a joint press conference with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel.

"We agree that we need rigorous implementation and a full respect of commitments taken by all the parties" to the deal, the French minister said, according to Reuters.

Le Drian and Gabriel told reporters that Paris and Berlin would continue to defend the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers.

The escalation between the European parties involved in the nuclear agreement and Tehran over the missile program comes while there is uncertainty over the final decision that may be taken by Congress in the coming days after US President Donald Trump refused to ratify the nuclear deal, accusing Tehran of not respecting the spirit of the deal.

The US administration called in October on its Western allies to pressure Tehran to halt its missile program and its destabilizing activities in the Middle East.

Speaking at a press conference at NATO Headquarters in Brussels ahead of a foreign ministers meeting of the organization, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg voiced NATO's full support for the implementation of Iran nuclear deal.

However, Stoltenberg stressed that Iran's nuclear program has to be distinguished from the country's missile capability.

NATO members are now focused on the full implementation of the deal because it will directly influence NATO allies, the official said.

This came few hours after Tehran rejected Paris's call to abandon the missile program when Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi reiterated Tehran's adherence to the missile option.

"Paris must realize that Tehran's missile program is not negotiable," Qasemi said.

Tensions between Iran and France increased last month when French President Emmanuel Macron said Tehran must be less aggressive in the region and that it must clarify its ballistic missile program.

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