Iran’s armed forces spokesman said on Saturday that there can be no talks on the country’s missile programme without the West’s destruction of its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
“What Americans say out of desperation with regards to limiting the Islamic republic of Iran’s missile capability is an unattainable dream,” Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri told the official IRNA news agency.
“The condition for negotiations on Iran’s missiles is the destruction of America’s and Europe’s nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.”
Jazayeri said US criticism of Iran’s missile programme was driven by “their failures and defeats in the region.”
US President Donald Trump has threatened to tear up a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers unless more is done to curb Iran’s missile programme.
European governments have been scrambling to appease Trump and keep the deal intact, and have voiced increasing concern over Iran’s missile programme.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who is due to visit Iran on Monday, said last month that its missile programme and involvement in regional conflicts needed to be addressed if Iran “wants to return to the family of nations”.
Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign policy advisor to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, criticised Le Drian’s position on Saturday, just two days before they are expected to meet.
“Iran’s defence programme is not the concern of other countries such as France, that they should come and tell us what missiles we can have. Do we tell France how it should defend itself?” he told the semi-official ISNA news agency.
“If Le Drian’s visit is aimed at reinforcing our relations, he would do well to avoid negative positions,” Velayati added.