Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi has branded French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian's call for further talks with Iran as "bullying and excessive," the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.
"There is no reason, need, reliability or trust for negotiations on issues that are non-negotiable. […] On Iran’s missile program, we once again affirm that the program is totally defensive, local and legitimate. It is highly critical for protecting Iran and the Iranian nation against others. So, it is not negotiable at all,” Qassemi was cited as saying.
On Thursday, Le Drian told a gathering of EU Foreign Ministers in Vienna that "Iran must respect the fundamentals of the JCPOA [the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]," and should be prepared to negotiate on its future nuclear plans, ballistic missile arsenal and alleged meddling in conflicts across the Middle East.
"I think that is the case, but Iran cannot avoid discussions, negotiations on three other major subjects that worry us — the future of Iran’s nuclear commitments after 2025, the ballistic question and the fact there is a sort of ballistic proliferation on the part of Iran… and the role Iran plays to stabilize the whole region. We must talk about these three subjects, Iran must be aware of this and that’s the message I send to them from Vienna."
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, also speaking at the meeting of EU foreign and defense ministers in Vienna on August 30, said that notwithstanding disagreements with Tehran over some issues, “we believe that addressing regional disagreements with Iran can be done in a more effective manner if we maintain the nuclear deal already in place.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has tweeted that "Being the party to still honor the deal in deeds & not just words is not Iran's only option."
If preserving JCPOA is the goal, then there is no escape from mustering the courage to comply with commitment to normalize Iran's economic relations instead of making extraneous demands. Being the party to still honor the deal in deeds & not just words is not Iran's only option. pic.twitter.com/x8t49TegUb— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) 30 августа 2018 г.
Zarif's tweet followed a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency confirming that Tehran was still complying with the key provisions of the JCPOA despite the unilateral withdrawal from the international treaty by the US.
The deal was sealed in 2015 by the EU and the P5+1 group of states – Russia, the US, China, France, the UK and Germany – and Iran. Under the agreement, Tehran agreed to maintain the peaceful nature of its nuclear program in exchange for a gradual lifting of sanctions.
The 2015 deal limited Iran to 3.67 percent uranium enrichment, which has no military applications and is far below the 90 percent needed to produce a weapon.