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Tehran will 'stand against' Europe if it meddles in defense affairs – judiciary chief

Tehran will 'stand against' Europe if it meddles in defense affairs – judiciary chief
Iran's judiciary chief has warned European countries not to follow America's practice of meddling in issues related to Iranian defense activities, stressing that such nations have "no right" to do so and that Tehran will "stand against them."

“Europe has no right to meddle in our defense affairs,” Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani said during a Monday meeting of senior judiciary officials in Tehran, as quoted by Tasnim news agency. “The Europeans should realize that if they want to [follow the US] and interfere in our defense affairs, we will stand against them as we did against the US," he added.

Referring to Tehran's missile capability, Larijani said it is purely for defense purposes and not subject to negotiation.

He also said that any attempts at connecting the country's defense issue to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal were "wrong," and that Iran would not accept such actions.

His comments came just one day after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Europe and others against doing business with Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Speaking during a visit to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, Tillerson said: "Both of our countries believe that those who conduct business with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, any of their entities – European companies or other companies around the globe – really do so at great risk."

Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump refused to certify that Iran was complying with the 2015 nuclear deal. The agreement is aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions, but Trump claims Tehran has violated the agreement.

The next move sits in the hands of the US Congress, which has been given 60 days to decide whether to re-impose or "snap back" sanctions on Iran's nuclear program that were lifted under the agreement.

Despite Trump's refusal to certify the deal, the leaders of the 28 members of the European Union showed their support for the agreement during a summit last week.

“We fully stay committed to the complete implementation by all sides of the Iranian nuclear deal. We see this as a key security interest for the European Union and the region,” the bloc’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, said at the time, as quoted by Reuters.

Days after the EU summit, Trump said he still believed the bloc would support US sanctions against Iran if he was "insistent."

"Would they [the EU] do it if I really was insistent? I believe they would," he told Fox News, adding that he had simply allowed Germany and France to keep making money with Tehran because Washington was capable of pressuring Tehran on its own. 

Meanwhile, the desire for the US to stick to the nuclear deal spans beyond the EU, with Russia's parliament preparing a statement which urges the US Congress to stick with the agreement. 

“The Federation Council [the official name of chamber] addresses the US Congress members with an urgent request to use all available resources and prevent the extremely dangerous situation. The parliaments must use the influence on political leaders of their countries in order to keep in force the historical deal concerning the Iranian nuclear program,” a draft statement reads, as quoted by RIA Novosti.