French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Comments on the Iranian Missile Test-Fire at Daily Press Briefing (Excerpts)

November 27, 2007

Weapon Program: 

  • Missile

[Please note that only the original French text issued by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs may be considered official.]

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Q - Iran test-fired a missile with a range of 3,000 km. In your view, is this a Shabab-3 missile and what comment do you have?

We have taken note of the reports you're referring to concerning a new Iranian missile.

I'd like to state that the proliferation of ballistic missile technology is a matter of major concern for France and also for the international community. I would remind you that UNSCR 1696, 1737 and 1747 contain sanctions against Iran to fight these proliferating activities both with respect to the nuclear domain and missiles. This is particularly true of SCR 1737 and 1747 which I've just mentioned.

This news is a cause of concern and illustrates the need to be extremely vigilant with respect to Iran's intentions and actions.

Q - Do you have information about the exact nature of the missile?

I've no further information.

Q - Do the negotiations being conducted by the three countries and Iran concern only the nuclear issue with Iran or ballistic nuclear weapons?

The talks we're conducting are not between three countries but in the context of the E3 + 3. Let me remind you of the statement adopted in New York on September 28 which concerns Iran's nuclear activities. Now, we have Mr. ElBaradei's reports and we're waiting for Mr. Solana's. Once we have these two reports, we'll be going to the Security Council and we'll see if we need to work on a new resolution.

The issue at this time is Iran's nuclear activities. We're asking it to comply with its international obligations, that is, suspend its enrichment-related activities and implement the additional protocol which provides for enhanced monitoring and transparency.

Q - If Iran complies with your demands, will you then start an inquiry into the ballistic missiles?

We'll be discussing all the issues concerning non-proliferation as I've just said. This is a priority for us.

Q - Before the Iranian case is closed, two sub-issues have to be resolved. Is that correct?

Speaking generally, the proliferation of ballistic missile technology has to be controlled. We are bound, as you know, by this obligation and by the commitment to non-proliferation. On one hand, there's the E3 + 3 exercise and on the other, the non-proliferation of ballistic missiles which is a matter of major concern. There's no cause and effect relationship between the one and the other.

Q - To sum up, you're not denying the nature of what is happening Iran?

I don't have sufficient information at this stage to answer you.

Q - So you've made a statement without being sure of the nature of events, is that right?

We are reacting to information reported publicly by the Iranian Defense Ministry which seems to us rather disturbing in view of our goal of non-proliferation.

Q - Why don't you talk about ballistic non-proliferation every time a country launches a missile to put satellites around the earth? Is there a link between the nature of the military program and the Iranian nuclear issue?

There's no relationship. Also, it's not my impression that it is only today and in this particular instance that we take advantage of the incident to reaffirm our commitment to non-proliferation.

Q - Would you have had the same reaction for other countries like Israel and Japan which have launched missiles recently?

The question doesn't come up in those terms.

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