Iran Urges France to Take 'Approach Based on Reality'
Tehran urged Paris on Monday to take "a correct approach based on reality," after the French defense minister stressed the need to prevent the Islamic republic from developing nuclear weapons.
"There is an erroneous belief held by some Western nations that if put under pressure Iran will give up its fundamental rights," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in a statement posted on the ministry's website, according to AFP.
"It would be better if the French government adopted a correct approach based on reality, instead of engaging in irrational behavior and comments."
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Saturday there was a need to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, affirming that the sanctions had been imposed in an effort to push the regime into serious negotiations.
"The progress of Iran's program only adds to our concerns" about the unacceptable "possibility of Iran acquiring nuclear arms," Le Drian told the Gulf Defence Conference in Abu Dhabi across the Gulf from Iran, according to AFP.
The French minister said it was the responsibility of countries to ensure that Iran's suspect nuclear program "fails" in order to guarantee security for all.
Sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union "appear to me to be the way to bring Iran to negotiate seriously," Le Drian added.
Mehmanparast maintained, however, that Tehran's position that "Iran's nuclear program is peaceful and transparent and (Tehran) has continuously and closely cooperated with the International Atomic Energy Agency," the UN nuclear watchdog.
Talks between Iran and the P5+1 group -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany -- will be held in the Kazakh city of Almaty on February 26 after an eight-month respite and failed meetings in Istanbul, Baghdad and Moscow.
The talks aim to address Western concerns regarding Iran's capacity to enrich uranium to fissile purities of 20 percent, a process that can be used for making the core of a nuclear bomb.