Macron’s re­marks not ac­cu­rate: Iran

Tehran Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Mo­ham­mad Ho­maee­far

TEHRAN — For­eign Min­istry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Mon­day that the re­cent re­marks made by French Pres­i­dent Emanuel Macron about Iran’s mis­sile pro­gram were “not ac­cu­rate”.

“We want France to pay closer at­ten­tion to re­gional is­sues, as there are many en­e­mies here [in the re­gion] try­ing to af­fect Iran’s re­la­tions with Euro­pean coun­tries, es­pe­cially France,” Qassemi said in his weekly press con­fer­ence.

Dur­ing a visit to Dubai on Thurs­day, Macron said he was “very con­cerned” by Tehran’s mis­sile pro­gram af­ter Riyadh claimed it had in­ter­cepted a mis­sile fired from Ye­men and ac­cused Iran of arm­ing Houthi An­sarul­lah fight­ers.

The French pres­i­dent also called for a firm stance over Iran’s bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gram, rais­ing the prospect of pos­si­ble sanc­tions on Tehran with re­gard to those ac­tiv­i­ties.

Qassemi added Macron’s up­com­ing visit to Tehran could be a step to re­duce mis­un­der­stand­ings and dis­agree­ments be­tween the two coun­tries.

‘Iran does not in­ter­fere in Ye­men’

Qassemi said Iran does not in­ter­fere in Ye­men or other coun­tries.

Ear­lier this month, the Houthi move­ment, which has been fight­ing off a Saudi-led coali­tion with al­lied army troops and tribal fight­ers, fired a mis­sile at the King Khalid In­ter­na­tional Air­port in north­east­ern Riyadh. Saudi Ara­bia said it in­ter­cepted the mis­sile mid-air.

Cit­ing the Saudi block­ade of Ye­men, the For­eign Min­istry spokesman said Iran can­not send weapons to Ye­men even if it wished to do so. “We can’t even send hu­man­i­tar­ian aid to the coun­try, let alone weapons,” he ex­plained.

Such claims of in­ter­fer­ence by Iran are part of the en­e­mies’ psy­cho­log­i­cal war against the Is­lamic Repub­lic.

‘Hariri case is no one’s busi­ness but the Le­banese’

The spokesman also said Tehran has al­ways been push­ing for sta­bil­ity, se­cu­rity and peace in Le­banon and that the Is­lamic Repub­lic re­gards the ques­tions sur­round­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Prime Min­is­ter Saad Hariri as a purely Le­banese is­sue.

On Novem­ber 4, Hariri sur­prised the world by an­nounc­ing his res­ig­na­tion in a tele­vised pro­gram broad­cast from Saudi Ara­bia. A num­ber of Ira­nian of­fi­cials said he had been forced by the Saudis to re­sign.

“Based on the of­fi­cial pol­icy of the Is­lamic Repub­lic of Iran, we never in­ter­fere in other coun­tries’ in­ter­nal af­fairs,” Qassemi said.

Qassemi was re­spond­ing to a ques­tion by the Tehran Times cor­re­spon­dent on whether the For­eign Min­istry would re­act to Hariri’s house ar­rest in Saudi Ara­bia by pur­su­ing the is­sue through in­ter­na­tional chan­nels.

“Hariri’s case is no one’s busi­ness but the Le­banese,” he noted, em­pha­siz­ing that Iran fol­lows a non-in­ter­ven­tion­ist pol­icy and urges other coun­tries to re­solve their is­sues through di­a­logue.

He said Hariri’s res­ig­na­tion was “un­ex­pected” and “sus­pi­cious” since he an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion while he was in an­other coun­try.

In a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view on Sun­day, Hariri said he will re­turn home in days to for­mally sub­mit his res­ig­na­tion. “I have re­signed. I am go­ing to Le­banon very soon and I will re­sign in the con­sti­tu­tional man­ner,” he said.

The For­eign Min­istry of­fi­cial said Tehran is hope­ful that the Le­banese prime min­is­ter will soon re­turn to his coun­try and of­fi­cially fol­low up on his res­ig­na­tion there.

He fur­ther voiced op­ti­mism over Hariri’s Sun­day night TV ap­pear­ance, hop­ing his re­turn would bring back sta­bil­ity to Le­banon.

Upon his res­ig­na­tion, Hariri had ac­cused Iran of sow­ing “fear and de­struc­tion” in sev­eral coun­tries, in­clud­ing Le­banon, and blamed Tehran and Hezbol­lah for his de­ci­sion to quit.

On Sun­day, he said the main prob­lem for the re­gion was “Iran in­ter­fer­ing in Arab states.”

Qassemi de­clined to com­ment on Hariri’s anti-Iran re­marks, say­ing he will re­spond to him in com­ing days, be­cause “it is not yet clear in what con­di­tions he has made the re­marks.”

He said Hariri had a “good” meet­ing with Ali Ak­bar Ve­lay­ati, an ad­vi­sor to the Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei, prior to his trip to Saudi Ara­bia.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, ac­cord­ing to the spokesman, the two dis­cussed bi­lat­eral ties.

On the pos­si­bil­ity of a new Saudi-or­ches­trated proxy war in Le­banon, the spokesman said he would not take a stance based on mere hy­poth­e­sis.

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