Iran rejects Macron call for talks on Iranian missiles




FILE PHOTO: Supreme leader display seen at Baharestan Square in Tehran
FILE PHOTO: Supreme leader display seen at Baharestan Square in Tehran  

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran rejected on Sunday a call by French President Emmanuel Macron for talks on Tehran's ballistic missiles, saying they were defensive and unrelated to a nuclear agreement with world powers.

On Thursday, Macron said during a visit to Dubai that he was "very concerned" by Iran's ballistic missile program, mentioning a missile fired from Yemen and intercepted by Saudi Arabia earlier this month. He raised the prospect of possible sanctions with regard to those activities.

"There are negotiations we need to start on Iran's ballistic missiles," Macron said.

But Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi rejected that possibility. "France is fully aware of our country's firm position that Iran's defense affairs are not negotiable," he said.

"We have told French officials repeatedly that the nuclear deal is not negotiable and other issues will not be allowed to be added to it," Qassemi said, according to a statement on the ministry's website.

The United States accused Iran on Tuesday of supplying Yemen's Houthi rebels with a missile that was fired into Saudi Arabia in July and called for the United Nations to hold Tehran accountable for violating two U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Saudi Arabia and its allies accuse Iran of supplying missiles and other weapons to the Houthis, saying the arms were not present in Yemen before conflict broke out there in 2015. Iran denies the charges and blames the conflict on Riyadh.

The United States has imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, saying its missile tests violate a U.N. resolution that calls on Tehran not to undertake activities related to missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Iran says its missile program is defensive and it has no plans to build nuclear-capable missiles.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom, editing by Larry King)

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