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Influential Iranian Cleric Rejects Europe's Demand For Talks On Ballistic Missiles


Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati speaks at the opening ceremony of the Assembly of Experts on September 4.

An influential Iranian cleric says Europe is not helping to preserve a nuclear accord between Iran and world powers by demanding additional talks on issues like Tehran's ballistic missiles, the country's state media reported.

"Europe has announced that they won't leave the deal. In practice, by bringing up a discussion of missiles and other issues they are not following an appropriate path," Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati was quoted as saying on September 4.

Jannati heads Iran's Assembly of Experts -- a group of conservative clerics tasked with supervising the work of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

On August 30, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned that Iran and world powers "must talk" on certain "subjects that worry" the West.

"Iran cannot avoid discussions, negotiations on three other major subjects that worry us -- the future of Iran's nuclear commitments after 2025, the ballistic question and the fact there is a sort of ballistic proliferation on the part of Iran...and the role Iran plays to stabilize the whole region," Le Drian said.

The French minister's comments echoed some reasons given by U.S. President Donald Trump to justify his withdrawal from the nuclear deal in May and to reimpose U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Trump's administration says it wants to bring Iran back to the negotiating table, but Iranian leaders have ruled out renegotiating the landmark 2015 deal.

Since Trump's move, the other parties to the accord -- China, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany -- have been trying to find ways to salvage the agreement.

Based on reporting by Reuters, IRNA, and AFP
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