Iran not to seek permission for defense, missile capabilities

TEHRAN, Feb. 11 (MNA) – In a meeting with French delegation, Ali Akbar Velayati said that if Macron raises Iran's missile program issue during his visit to Tehran, he will receive negative response from Iran.

The Iranian Leader’s Aide on International Affairs Ali Akbar Velayati met with a French delegation at a gathering commemorating the 40th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution. The French delegation was led by Jacques Hogart. The French delegation was comprised of French ministers, high-ranking officials and members of French parliament.

The two sides discussed issues of mutual interest such as bilateral relations, the situation in West Asia, French President Emanuel Macron's visit to Tehran in the two-hour long meeting.

Velayati noted that Iran and France have good memories about each other, noting that Iran remembers France playing host to the late Imam Khomeini at Neauphle-le-Château. Therefore, he said, Iran expects more from France as a country that leads Europe in terms of freedom.

He said, "We had expected Mr. Emmanuel Macron would adopt more solid positions over JCPOA, rather than hosting a meeting to discuss revising the agreement at the suggestion of Trump, Germany and UK."

Stressing that Iran would not accept any changes in the nuclear deal, he said, "That French government's positions changes under pressure from President Trump indicating that France's independence in the Western bloc was disrupted.”

Velayati recalled that Americans had claimed that under sanctions law [D'Amato] it would fine any company investing more than $20 million in Iran, Total invested billions of dollars in Iranian oil industry and US could not do anything about it.

Regarding Macron's visit to Iran, Velayati said, "If Macron raises Iran's missile program during his visit [to Iran], he would definitely be faced with negative response from Islamic Republic of Iran.”

He stressed that Iran would not seek permission from any country regarding its missile capabilities, and that Iran would develop its missile program based on its defense needs.

Regarding the situation in Lebanon, Velayati expressed hope that France would support political and security stability in Lebanon.

On the Syrian situation, he said that Bashar Assad is the main pillar of stability in Syria, that even the Christians understand how important it is for him to stay in power.

For his part, Hogart said, “Our goal is to deepen Iranian-French relations politically, culturally and commercially.”

Other members of the French delegation criticized former French President Holland's policies for West Asia, especially Syria and Lebanon. They said that Assad must remain in Syria, and French aid to groups such as the Free Army was a strategic mistake because ISIS was born from the same groups.

SP/ 4225377

News Code 132078

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