Iran opens to French N-deal proposal
TEHRAN, Iran, Aug 22, (Agencies): Iran’s president struck a muscular tone on dealings with the US, saying Thursday that “talks are useless” as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers crumbles further. President Hassan Rouhani made the comment in a speech in Tehran during the unveiling of the Bavar-373, a long-range surface-to-air missile system that he described as an improvement to the Russian S-300.
“Now that our enemies do not accept logic, we cannot respond with logic,” Rouhani said in the televised speech. He added: “When the enemy launches a missile against us, we cannot give a speech and say: ‘Mr Rocket, please do not hit our country and our innocent people. Rocket-launching sir, if you can please hit a button and self-destroy the missile in the air.’”
On Wednesday, Iran’s state TV reported that the Bavar-373 is able to recognize up to 100 targets at a same time and confront them with six different weapons. Since 1992, Iran has developed a homegrown defense industry that has produced light and heavy weapons ranging from mortars and torpedoes to tanks and submarines.
Iran is prepared to work on French proposals to salvage the international nuclear deal that Tehran signed with world powers in 2015 but it will not tolerate US interference in the Gulf, its foreign minister said on Thursday. In an effort to prop up the agreement, French President Emmanuel Macron offered on Wednesday to either soften sanctions on Iran or provide a compensation mechanism “to enable the Iranian people to live better” in return for full compliance with the pact.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaking at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, said he was looking forward to having a serious conversation with Macron in Paris on Friday. “There are proposals on the table, both from the French and the Iranian side, and we are going to work on those proposals tomorrow,” he said Zarif also warned against US efforts to create a security mission, which so far Britain, Australia and Bahrain have joined, to guard shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital gateway for global oil supplies.
“It’s clear that the US’ intention … (of having a) naval presence in the Arabian Gulf is to counter Iran … Don’t expect us to remain quiet when somebody comes to our waters and threatens us,” Zarif said. Several international merchant vessels have been attacked in the Gulf in recent months in incidents that have rocked global commodity trading. The United States has blamed Iran, which denies the accusations. Adding to the fraught mood, British forces seized an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar in July then Iranian Revolutionary Guards detained a British vessel in the Gulf.
In his speech in Oslo, Zarif said Iran would not start a war in the Gulf but it would defend itself. “Will there be a war in the Arabian Gulf? I can tell you that we will not start the war… but we will defend ourselves.”
An Iranian tanker which the United States wants seized is not heading towards Greece as it sails through the Mediterranean, Greek Prime Minister Kyrikos Mitsotakis told France 24 TV on Thursday. The Adrian Darya, formerly called Grace 1, left Gibraltar on Sunday. Ship-tracking data on Tuesday showed it was heading toward the Greek port of Kalamata on the southern coast of the Peloponnese and was scheduled to arrive next Monday.
“The ship is not heading towards Greece. We have not received a request for it to dock in a Greek port,” said Mitsotakis, who was in Paris for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. The tanker was detained by Gibraltar after British forces seized it in July on suspicion of breaking sanctions on Syria, but it was released on Sunday. The United States wants to detain it again on the grounds it has links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, which it deems a terrorist organisation.