LONDON (Reuters) – Iran said on Sunday that Europe was not in a position to criticise Tehran for its military capabilities, and called on European leaders to normalise economic ties with the Islamic Republic despite U.S. sanctions or face consequences.
President Donald Trump last year withdrew the United States from a nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions. Trump has condemned a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, signed by his predecessor Barack Obama, as flawed for not being permanent and for not covering Iran’s ballistic missile programme or its role in conflicts around the Middle East.
The European signatories to the deal – France, Britain and Germany – share the same concerns as the United States over Iran’s ballistic missile programme and regional activities.
However, they have defended the nuclear accord saying that at least it puts curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme and can be the basis for future talks.
“Europeans are not in a position to criticise Iran for issues outside the JCPOA,” Zarif was quoted as saying by the state broadcaster, using the acronym for the nuclear deal.
“The Europeans and other signatories of the JCPOA should normalise economic ties with Iran… We will halt our commitments or will take action in accordance to their measures.”
Iran last month stopped some commitments under the nuclear deal and warned that in 60 days it would scale back more commitments if Europeans fail to shield it against the U.S. sanctions.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will visit Iran this week, during which he will explore options for preserving the fraying nuclear non-proliferation pact.
Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani on Sunday also criticised French President Emmanuel Macron for saying last week in a meeting with Trump that they shared the same objectives on Iran.
Macron said France wanted to make sure Tehran will not get nuclear weapons: “We had an accord until 2025 and we want to go further and have full certainty in the long run… (Then) reduce ballistic activity and contain Iran regionally.”
“The recent remarks by the French president in a meeting with Trump were shameful and inept,” Larijani was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.
“Macron’s comments did not match what he has been telling our president, Mr (Hassan) Rouhani, in their meetings and on the phone.”
Iran insists its nuclear activities are entirely peaceful, and has repeatedly refused to discuss its missile programme.
(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; editing by Jason Neely)