Iran accuses France of ‘destabilizing’ the region

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Iran accused France of being a destabilizing force in the region after its foreign minister threatened new sanctions against Tehran over its missile program.

“The Islamic republic has always called for the strengthening of peace and stability in the region,” the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement released overnight Friday.

As such Iran “considers the mass sales of sophisticated and offensive weapons by... France as a factor in destabilizing the balance of the region,” the statement said.

It came after French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Friday said Paris was ready to impose new sanctions on Tehran if talks on its missile program and its regional influence fail to make progress.

“We have begun a difficult dialogue with Iran... and unless progress is made we are ready to apply sanctions, firmly, and they know it,” Le Drian said.

Le Drian also demanded that Iran change its behavior in the region, specifically regarding its military presence in Syria.

The Iranian foreign ministry responded saying “Iran’s missile program is not negotiable” and warned that “any new sanction by European countries will lead to a review of our relations with them”.

In May, the US withdrew from a nucleur deal with Iran and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran.

Tehran has continued to develop its ballistic missile technology, but says it has no intention of acquiring atomic weapons and that its missile development programs are purely defensive.