France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has urged the European Union to adopt new sanctions against Iran over its alleged role in Syria and Yemen, as well as its missile program.
Le Drian said as he arrived at a meeting with his EU counterparts to discuss Iran on Monday that Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement should be respected.
“But we must not exclude Iran’s responsibility in the proliferation of ballistic missiles and in its very questionable role in the near- and Middle East,” he said. “That must also be discussed to reach a common position.”
Iran has stressed that its missile program is defensive and aims to deter any aggression by extremist powers against the country.
The Islamic Republic has also denied providing military assistance to Yemeni forces fighting Saudi Arabia’s war of aggression against the impoverished country.
As for Syria, Tehran says it has been giving military advisory support to the Arab country in its campaign against foreign-backed terrorism at the request of Damascus.
Britain, France and Germany proposed new European Union sanctions on Iran over its missile program and its regional role, a confidential document revealed last week.
The proposal is allegedly part of an EU strategy to appease US President Donald Trump and preserve the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), amid constant US threats to withdraw from it.
Trump has repeatedly described the JCPOA, which was negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama, as “the worst and most one-sided transaction Washington has ever entered into,” a characterization he often used during his presidential campaign, and threatened to tear it up.
He delivered a 120-day ultimatum to America’s European allies on January 12 that they must agree to “fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal” or he would refuse to extend US sanctions relief on Iran and would pull out of the deal.
The US under Trump has been seeking a revision of the deal and making modifications to it, such as inclusion of Iran’s missile program in the agreement.
Reacting to reports about the sanctions proposal by the EU, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said Saturday any new sanctions that undermine the nuclear accord will go against the Europeans’ pledges at the commission’s meeting.
He noted that any such move to appease the US will be a big mistake that will affect the very existence of the nuclear agreement.
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the US, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany signed the nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.
Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.