French FM faces criticism on Iran visit

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said the European Union is capable of playing a constructive role in order to protect the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aka nuclear deal.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also made a point to mention France armed dictator Saddam Hussein during the bloody 1980s Iran-Iraq war.

Le Drian said that both countries have new plans for boosting cooperation in monetary and banking interactions.

Any collapse of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers would be a "great loss", the head of the United Nations atomic agency policing the accord said on Monday, alluding to a USA threat to pull out of it.

In his interview, Kamalvandi said that Iran has developed highly advanced centrifuges that are 24 times more powerful than the previous models used.

He urged the European countries not to bend under the United States "psychological game" pertaining to Iran's nuclear deal. "Having such tools is not uniquely defensive, given the distance they can reach".

The Iranian foreign minister also criticized some European countries for "being influenced under USA pressures" over Iran's nuclear deal and missile program.

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Le Drian faced immediate pushback over French concerns about Iran's ballistic missiles, starting with Iranian students waving signs at Iran's Mehrabad International Airport protesting his comments.

"We want to preserve the nuclear deal because it is working, it's robust and because the Iranians are respecting it", his team told AFP ahead of the visit.

"The country's defence capabilities will continue non-stop and foreigners do not have the right to enter this field", Jazayeri said Monday, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

"We're not going to be Donald Trump's envoys or Iran's defense lawyers", said a French diplomatic source. The Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah is fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces.

"There are programs for missiles that can travel several thousand kilometers, which are not compatible with UN Security Council resolutions and which exceed the needs of defending Iran's borders", Le Drian told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

Hardline Iranian media reacted angrily to Le Drian's visit with headlines like "The Rude Guest" and "Weapons of mass seduction".

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano, whose agency is verifying Iranian compliance with restrictions on its disputed uranium enrichment work imposed by the deal, has long called the pact a "net gain" for nuclear verification, since it has provided the IAEA with more thorough oversight of Iran.

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