France: Iran is developing nuclear weapons; Iran in response: 'absurd nonsense'

The Iranian foreign minister rejected claims made by his French counterpart over the weekend. "You kick-started your cabinet career with arms sales to Saudi war criminals," he tweeted. "You are destabilising our region"

The nuclear reactor in Bushehr in October 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Mehr News Agency/Majid Asgaripour

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rejected on Sunday France's claim that Iran is in the process of developing nuclear weapons, calling it "absurd nonsense".

The comments were made by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drain in an interview he gave to Journal du Dimanche magazine. He said that there is an "urgent need" for the US to return to the nuclear agreement that outgoing US President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018. "The Trump administration chose what it called the 'maximum pressure' campaign on Iran. The result was that this strategy only increased the risk and the threat," he said. "This has to stop because Iran and - I say this clearly - is in the process of acquiring nuclear (weapons) capacity."

"Dear colleague: You kick-started your cabinet career with arms sales to Saudi war criminals. Avoid absurd nonsense about Iran," Zarif responded on Twitter. "Reality check: You are destabilising our region. Stop protecting criminals who chainsaw their critics and use your arms to slaughter children in Yemen," added Zarif, referring to the killing and dismemberment of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the Saudi involvement against the Houthis in Yemen (without pointing out, of course, that they are supported by Iran) 

Iran, as is well known, denies striving to develop nuclear weapons, but in recent weeks there have been many developments on this issue, such as the discovery of the new facility being built at the nuclear reactor in Fordo, the announcement of the restart of the enrichment of uranium to the level of 20%, reports on the establishment of a uranium metal processing factory, and the declaration that Iran will expel the IAEA nuclear inspectors from its territory if the American sanctions are not lifted by February 21 (as a "gesture of goodwill" for Joe Biden's first month as US president).