Iran Rejects France’s Proposal for Missile Talks, Threatens Europe

By Ahmad Majidyar | Fellow and Director of IranObserved Project - The Middle East Institute | Dec 1, 2017
Iran Rejects France’s Proposal for Missile Talks, Threatens Europe

Senior Iranian officials have reiterated that the country will not negotiate with the United States and Europe powers over its missile program, the Iranian media reported. “It is Iran’s permanent policy not to negotiate over its missile power,” Alauddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, today. “Iran under no circumstances will allow other countries, including America, to interfere in the country’s missile program,” he added.

Separately, the chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.) also rejected a proposal by French President Emmanuel Macron to supplement the Iran nuclear deal with new provisions that would address the Islamic Republic’s controversial missile program and destabilizing role in the region. “We attribute the suggestion for missile negotiation by French officials to the young age of the French president. This is because of their immaturity and they will soon realize that their efforts are futile… Our missile power is non-negotiable and the Iranian people will also not permit this,” said Major General Ali Jafari.

Earlier this week, the deputy I.R.G.C. commander also threatened to put Europe within Iran’s missile range if European powers cooperated with Washington against Tehran. “If we have kept the range of our missiles up to 2,000 kilometers and have not increased it, it is not because of technological limitations. This is because we have a strategic doctrine for the range of our missiles,” Brigadier General Hossein . “Therefore, the Europeans should know that if they threaten us, we will increase the range of our missiles,” he added, according to I.R.G.C.-affiliated Tasnim News Agency.

Comment: Since President Donald Trump took office in January and threatened to terminate the nuclear accord, Iranian leaders have been banking on European support to “isolate” the United States to keep the nuclear agreement alive and minimize the impact of U.S. unilateral sanctions on Iran. But the French president’s tough rhetoric against Iran’s ballistic missile and regional role has worried Tehran. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s also said recently that Iran should clarify its “uncontrolled” ballistic missile strategy. During a press conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel Jubeir, the top French diplomat added that “Iran’s role and the different areas where this country operates worries us.” He continued: “I am thinking in particular of Iran’s interventions in regional crises, this hegemonic temptation and I’m thinking of its ballistic program.”

In a telephone conversation last week, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani urged his French counterpart not to support Washington’s policies vis-à-vis Tehran. “From Iran’s perspective, one the one hand, a complete and thorough implementation of JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action; the 2015 nuclear agreement], is an important test for many other significant collaborations at the international level; and on the other, adding to or removing any parts of JCPOA will result in the complete collapse of this agreement,” Rouhani warned Macron, .

The I.R.G.C. has also threatened to put Europe within Iran’s missile range if European powers cooperated with Washington against Tehran. “If we have kept the range of our missiles up to 2,000 kilometers and have not increased it, it is not because of technological limitations. This is because we have a strategic doctrine for the range of our missiles,” Brigadier General Hossein . “Therefore, the Europeans should know that if they threaten us, we will increase the range of our missiles,” he added, according to I.R.G.C.-affiliated Tasnim News Agency.

While the nuclear agreement does not address Iran’s missile program, the subsequent “calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.” Iranian leaders argue that the country’s missiles are not designed to carry nuclear warheads, but U.S. officials some of the missiles Iran has tested after the 2015 nuclear deal have been "inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons" and are "in defiance of" the U.N. resolution.