Iran slams French call for 'decisive sanctions'
Iran on Sunday condemned a call by French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian for "decisive sanctions" against the Islamic state over its disputed nuclear programme, the ISNA news agency reported.
Such comments indicate "that so far sanctions have been ineffective and fruitless," Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said.
Le Drian said on Friday that the United States and European nations should take firmer action against Iran over its controversial programme of uranium enrichment.
"Given the inflexibility of Iran's position, this dual, sanctions-dialogue approach should allow us to increase pressure on Iran in the coming months as the Iranian uranium enrichment programme continues to expand in quantity and quality," he said.
The United Nations and Western nations have imposed a range of sanctions on Iran for several years in an effort to deter Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian programme to develop nuclear energy.
Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, met European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Istanbul on Wednesday, for the first time since fruitless discussions with the US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany over Tehran's nuclear drive in Almaty in April.
Jalili said the talks with Ashton were "long and useful", and that both sides have decided to continue the discussions.
Efforts to resolve the long-running dispute are complicated by the fact that Iran goes to the polls on June 14 to choose a successor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with Jalili himself expected to be a candidate.
The Iranian currency, the rial, has lost more than two thirds of its value since 2012 because of international sanctions targeting its oil sector and banking system, and inflation has climbed above the 30 percent mark.
© 2013 AFP