France should not interfere in Tehran’s missile program, says adviser to Iran’s supreme leader

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that Tehran should be less aggressive in the region and should clarify the strategy around its ballistic missile program. (AFP)
Updated 18 November 2017
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France should not interfere in Tehran’s missile program, says adviser to Iran’s supreme leader

BEIRUT: France should not interfere in Iran’s missile program, Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, said on Saturday according to state media.
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that Tehran should be less aggressive in the region and should clarify the strategy around its ballistic missile program.
“It does not benefit Mr. Macron and France to interfere on the missile issue and the strategic affairs of the Islamic Republic, which we have great sensitivities about,” Velayati said.
“What does this issue have to do with Mr. Macron? Who is he at all to interfere? If he wants relations between Iran and France to grow then he should try not to interfere in these issues.”
US President Donald Trump has said Iranian missile activity should be curbed.
Iranian officials have repeatedly said the Islamic Republic’s missile program is for defense purposes and is not up for negotiation. The program was not part of the 2015 nuclear deal with Western powers under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions.
France said on Wednesday it wanted an “uncompromising” dialogue with Iran about its ballistic missile program and a possible negotiation over the issue separate from Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.


Saudi Arabia pledges $100m to help ‘stabilize’ Syria’s northeast

Updated 7 min 54 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia pledges $100m to help ‘stabilize’ Syria’s northeast

  • United States, which leads the anti-Daesh coalition, expressed its  thanks for the funds
  • The money will help ensure the militants cannot re-emerge as a threat

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has contributed $100 million to help reconstruct areas of north-eastern Syria formerly held by Daesh.

The Kingdom said the contribution would go toward a campaign by the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS to “stabilize” the former Daesh bastion and help ensure the militants cannot re-emerge as a threat.

The United States, which leads the coalition, expressed its  thanks and appreciation to Riyadh.

“This significant contribution is critical to stabilization and early recovery efforts,” a State Department spokeswoman said. “Saudi Arabia has been a leading partner in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS from the outset.”

The funds are the biggest single financial  contribution yet for reconstruction efforts in areas formerly controlled by the extremists.

The money would “save lives, help facilitate the return of displaced Syrians, and help ensure that Daesh cannot reemerge to threaten Syria, its neighbors, or plan attacks against the international community,” the Saudi Embassy in Washington said.

The contribution aims to support “stabilization projects” and “will play a critical role in the coalition’s efforts to revitalize communities, such as Raqqa, that have been devastated by Daesh terrorists.”

The statement said the money showed Saudi Arabia’s continued commitment to serve as a stabilizing force in the region.

The funds, part of a pledge made by Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir last month, will go towards projects to restore essential services in the areas of health, agriculture, electricity, water, education, and transportation.

The United Nations has said reconstruction in Syria would cost at least $250 billion. The Daesh takeover of large areas of territory in Syria and Iraq in 2014 led to huge levels of destruction. 

A conference on the reconstruction of Iraq held in Kuwait in February raised $30 billion in funding commitment. Saudi Arabia said at the event it would contribute $1.5 billion in financial and reconstruction support. 

Saudi Arabia also hosted the founding conference for the coalition in Jeddah in September 2014, and soon after flew the first air missions to bomb Daesh targets in Syria.