February 5, 2019
LONDON (Reuters) – Iran dismissed on Tuesday European Union unease about its missile program and rights abuses, calling it “non-constructive”, as Europe seeks to shield Iran from U.S. sanctions while containing its regional policies.
The European Union said on Monday it was gravely concerned by Iran’s ballistic missile tests and called on it to stop activity that deepened mistrust and destabilized the region.
The Iranian foreign ministry said Iran’s missile program was “defensive and deterrent” and Iran would never negotiate over it with other countries.
“Clear threats against the Islamic Republic is not constructive, efficient and helpful, and it is not in line with regional security and real interests of Europe,” Iran’s foreign ministry said in a statement published by the Tasnim news agency.
The European Union said in its 12-point statement that it was committed to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of last May.
Last week, Britain, France and Germany launched a system to facilitate non-dollar trade with Iran and avoid U.S. sanctions.
However, the EU warned that it could no longer tolerate what it said were Iranian assassination plots on its soil.
Iran’s foreign ministry rejected the warning.
“Raising such baseless and hollow accusations while known terrorist and criminal groups are free in Europe, is non-constructive at this stage, and is in line with the goals of enemies who seek to undermine Iran’s relations with Europe,” it said.
The ministry welcomed the new channel for non-dollar trade, known as the Instrument In Support Of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), but called it “late and inadequate”.
Iran warned that it would revise relations with Europe if it did not benefit economically from INSTEX.
(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Robert Birsel)