Iran pushes France to FURIOUS reaction – ‘STOP nuclear weapon activity NOW’. A feared need to ‘speed up’ the formation of a ‘10-nation EU army or military alliance’?
FRANCE has called on Iran to immediately stop all activities linked to ballistic missiles that could carry nuclear weapons to Europe after Tehran said it could put two satellites into orbit in the coming weeks.
By SIMON OSBORNE. PUBLISHED: 12:23, Fri, Jan 11, 2019 | UPDATED: 18:13, Fri, Jan 11, 2019
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll issued the demand after President Hassan Rouhani announced two satellites would be sent into space using Iran-made missiles. Ms von der Muhll said: “France recalls that the Iranian missile programme is not conform with UN Security Council Resolution 2231. It calls on Iran to immediately cease all ballistic missile-related activities designed to carry nuclear weapons, including tests using ballistic missile technology.”
Iran, which considers its space programme a matter of national pride, insists its space vehicle launches and missile tests are not violations of UN resolution and will continue.
Mr Rouhani said: “In the coming weeks, we will put two satellites into space using our Iran-made missiles.”
Under the resolution that enshrined Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers – which Washington pulled out of last spring – the country is “called upon” to refrain from work for up to eight years on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons.
Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since the US withdrawal in May, followed by the reimposition sanctions that were lifted under the multinational agreement in 2016.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran’s planned launches used technology “virtually identical” to that used in intercontinental ballistic missiles.
He said the US feared the long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit can also be used to launch warheads.
Mr Pompeo said the US plans to host a global summit focused on the Middle East, particularly Iran, next month in Poland.
He said the international gathering would be held on February 13 and 14 in Poland to “focus on Middle East stability and peace and freedom and security here in this region, and that includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence”.
Mr Pompeo is visiting a number of Middle Eastern countries this week in an effort to shore up support in the region amid a number of ongoing fronts, from the US troop withdrawal from Syria to the Saudi-Qatar rift to the killing of US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
He said Washington was ”redoubling” its efforts to put pressure on Iran amid growing concerns about its influence in the strife-torn region.