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Middle East

Iran rejects French call for talks on regional role

media Iranian foreign affairs ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi AFP/Atta Kenare

Iran has said no to a French call for talks that go beyond its nuclear capacity and demanded that Western powers live up to their already-existing commitments.

On Thursday French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Iran "cannot avoid discussions" on its ballistic missile programme and "the role Iran plays to stabilise the whole region".

His remarks echo Israeli and Saudi concerns, which were among the reasons US President Donald Trump raised for pulling his country out of the 2015 nuclear deal.

The EU and other signatories still stand by the deal but have failed to change Trump's mind and European firms have pullsed out of Iran because of the threat of US sanctions against anyone trading with the Islamic Republic.

"There is no basis of trust for negotiations, certainly on subjects which are non-negotiable," said Iranian foreign affairs ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi, according to the Tasnim news agency.

"The European authorities have up to now repeatedly stated their position but have not succeeded in presenting the necessary and sufficient guarantees that we are awaiting ... to preserve the international agreement," he went on. "The Iranian people have no other solution than to be mistrustful towards them while their commitments are not being fulfilled."

Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons and says its missiles are a legitimate defence against more heavily armed rivals.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Thursday that Iran was still keeping its commitments under the 2015 deal, which lifted international sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme.

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