'Clear threats against Islamic Republic': Iran rejects EU remarks

Iran's foreign ministry dismisses EU's condemnation of its missile programme, regional influence and internal policy.

    Iran unveiled the new Hoveizeh cruise missile during celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution. [Iranian Defense Ministry/AP]
    Iran unveiled the new Hoveizeh cruise missile during celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution. [Iranian Defense Ministry/AP]

    The Iranian foreign ministry has dismissed a European Union statement on the block's unease about Iran's missile programme, regional policies, alleged rights abuses and assassination plots in Europe.

    "Clear threats against the Islamic Republic are not constructive, efficient or helpful, and they are not in line with regional security and the real interests of Europe," the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

    On Monday, the EU, in a 12-point statement, underlined its commitment to respect the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement aimed at curtailing Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions reliefs.

    But the EU said it is "gravely concerned by Iran's ballistic missile activity" and called on it to stop activities that deepened mistrust and destabilised the region.

    New cruise missile

    Iran says its missile tests are not in violation of the resolution and denies the weapons are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It says its missiles are defensive and used for deterrence.


    During events marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran said it had added a new missile to its arsenal.

    "The test of the Hoveizeh cruise missile was carried out successfully at a range of 1,200 kilometres and accurately hit the set target," Defence Minister Amir Hatami said, quoted on state television which broadcast footage of its launch.

    The EU's statement also expressed concern about Iran's role in growing Middle East tensions, including support for groups in Lebanon and Syria, as well as Iran's own forces in Syria.

    In addition, it called on all parties involved in Yemen, including Iran, to work towards ending the conflict there.

    The EU also criticized Iran's human rights record, highlighting its use of the death penalty and urging it to respect equal rights for women and girls and minorities.

    Iran's foreign ministry replied with criticism of its own.

    "Raising such baseless and hollow accusations while known terrorist and criminal groups are free in Europe, is non-constructive at this stage," its statement said.

    it went on to say that EU statement is "in line with the goals of enemies who seek to undermine Iran's relations with Europe." 


    As part of EU's strategy to keep Iran part of the nuclear deal, the bloc launched the Instrument In Support Of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), a financial vehicle that would allow humanitarian trade to bypass US sanctions.

    The payment mechanism was welcomed by the ministry even if it called it "late and inadequate".

    Iran warned that it would revise relations with Europe if it did not benefit economically from INSTEX.

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    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies