Iran criticized France for its condemnation of its aggressive behaviors and its recent ballistic missile attack against Saudi Arabia, while French President Emmanuel Macron said Tehran misunderstood its “balanced” position, according to Reuters.
“It seems that France has a biased view towards the ongoing crises and humanitarian catastrophes in the Middle East,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by state TV. “This view fuels regional conflicts, whether intentionally or unintentionally.”
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday France was worried about Iran’s involvement in the Middle East crisis and its disputed ballistic missile program.
“Iran’s role and the different areas where this country operates worries us,” Le Drian told a joint news conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel Jubeir in Riyadh.
“I am thinking in particular of Iran’s interventions in regional crises, this hegemonic temptation and I’m thinking of its ballistic programme,” he said.
Iran has repeatedly rejected France’s call for talks on its missile programme, saying it is defensive and unrelated to its 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers.
Asked at an EU summit in Gothenburg about Iran’s accusations, Macron said Tehran misunderstood France’s “balanced” position of talking to everyone and not taking sides between Sunni and Shi‘ite Muslims.
“Our wish is that Iran has a less aggressive strategy in the region and that we can clarify its ballistic missile strategy which seems to be uncontrolled,” he said.
Paris suggested this week that new European Union sanctions against Iran could be discussed over its missile tests.
Jubeir said on Thursday that the kingdom’s actions in the Middle East were a response to what he called the “aggression” of Iran.
Shi‘ite-dominated Iran is involved in proxy wars across the region, backing sectarian militias in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.