Iran dismissed European Union criticism of its missile programme, regional policies and rights record yesterday, highlighting their increasingly testy relationship as both sides seek to salvage a troubled nuclear deal.
Iran's comments came a day after the bloc criticised the Islamic Republic's ballistic missile tests and expressed concern at Iran's role in growing Middle East tensions.
The European Union has promised to abide by a 2015 nuclear deal under which Iran agreed to limit its atomic work in exchange for sanctions relief, even after US President Donald Trump abandoned the accord because it did not cover Iranian military activities.
The EU has stepped up criticism of Iran's ballistic missiles programme and its regional policies in a dual-track approach analysts say is designed to show Washington it is possible to contain Tehran while remaining inside the nuclear pact.
The Iranian foreign ministry yesterday said Iran would never negotiate over its missile programme, which it said was defensive and designed as a deterrent.
Iran has expanded its missile programme in the last two decades, particularly its ballistic missiles, in defiance of the United States and concern by European countries, especially France.
As part of EU efforts to sustain the nuclear pact, Britain, France and Germany last week launched the Instrument In Support Of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), a system to facilitate non-dollar trade with Iran and avoid U.S. sanctions.
Iran's foreign ministry welcomed the new channel, but said it was "late and inadequate".