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France Raises Prospect Of New Sanctions On Iran Over Missiles

Missiles displayed at a parade in Tehran, Iran.
Missiles displayed at a parade in Tehran, Iran.

France's foreign ministry suggested on Monday that new sanctions could be imposed on Iran if needed over its ballistic missile program, Reuters reports.

Iran rejected on Sunday a call by French President Emmanuel Macron for talks on Tehran's ballistic missiles, saying they were defensive and unrelated to a nuclear agreement with world powers.

"As you know, the European Union has already placed sanctions on Iranian entities involved in the ballistic program," foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes Romatet-Espagne said.

She was responding when asked to clarify comments made by Macron during a trip to the United Arab Emirates last week about the prospects of possible sanctions with regard to those activities.

"If needed, new sanctions could be taken," she said.

During his visit to the region on, Macron accused Iran on November 9 of supplying the missile fired at Saudi Arabia days earlier. "There are extremely strong concerns about Iran. There are negotiations we need to start on Iran's ballistic missiles" Macron had said.

The United States had already accused Iran on of supplying Yemen's Houthi rebels with the missile that was fired into Saudi Arabia in July and called for the United Nations to hold Tehran accountable for violating two U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The U.S. Air Force also announced last week that the missile fired at Riyadh recently was an Iranian missile.

Saudi Arabia and its allies accuse Iran of supplying missiles and other weapons to the Houthis, saying the arms were not present in Yemen before conflict broke out there in 2015. Iran denies the charges and blames the conflict on Riyadh.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will be in the Saudi capital later this week and intends to travel to Iran before the end of the month.

"The political dialogue between France and Iran is active and makes it possible to address all topics, including strategic and regional issues," Romatet-Espagne said. "Mr Le Drian will have a firm dialogue when he goes to Iran."

Reporting by Reuters