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Collapse of Iran nuclear deal would be 'great loss' - UNwatchdog chief

Collapse of Iran nuclear deal would be 'great loss' - UNwatchdog chief

Through its participation in the deal, the Iranian leadership was also eager to tempt foreign investors into making lucrative trade deals, some of which have already brought about a much more prosperous Iran.

Iran's ballistic missile capacity and position "worries us enormously", Le Drian said last week at a news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

A US exit could kill the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which Tehran has refused to renegotiate.

Speaking ahead of his one-day visit in Tehran, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Sunday that Iran needed to address worldwide concerns over its ballistic missile program or risk new sanctions.

"We're not going to be Donald Trump's envoys or Iran's defence lawyers", said a French diplomatic source. It's thought that Le Drian will meet with senior officials in Tehran in reaction to Trump who has threatened to quit unless European allies help "fix" the deal.

IAEA director general Yukiya Amano said on Monday that losing the nuclear deal "would be a great loss for nuclear verification and for multilateralism".

"Iran is an independent country and can defend itself in any way it sees fit whether with missiles or any other defensive means", Velayati told reporters in Tehran.

Le Drian is to hold meetings with President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

His comments came after Le Drian's controversial comments about Iran's missile program ahead of his trip to Tehran.

In an interview published Monday, Zarif criticized the European Union for pursuing an extremist policy with Tehran in order to keep Washington in the agreement.

But the key focus has been the 120-day deadline set by Trump in January for USA lawmakers and European allies to "fix" the nuclear deal, removing "sunset clauses" that mean it expires in 2026 and reining in Iran's missile programme and regional activities.

Elsewhere in the meeting, Shamkhani called on Europe to accelerate the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear agreement between Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).

The French government has also raised concerns over Iran's ballistic missile research.

For his part, Rouhani said countries exporting weapons to Saudi Arabia - France being one of the biggest suppliers - must answer for war crimes being committed by that country in Yemen.

The New Yorker magazine earlier reported that Kerry had urged Tehran not to abandon a 2015 nuclear deal, despite tensions with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

During his stay, Le Drian is also expected to discuss bilateral ties.