TEHRAN (Press Shia) – French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian started his official visit to Iran to hold talks with senior officials of the country on a range of issues, including ways to boost bilateral relations between the two countries.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Le Drian arrived in Tehran early on Monday to meet with a number of senior Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

In the talks, the two sides are slated to discuss various issues, including ways to deepen relations between Tehran and Paris as well as the most important developments in the Middle East and other parts of the world.

Ahead of his visit to Tehran, Le Drian had threatened that Iran needed to address international concerns over its ballistic missile program or it risked new sanctions, according to media reports.

"There are programs for missiles that can travel several thousand kilometers, which are not compatible with UN Security Council resolutions and which exceed the needs of defending Iran’s borders," Jean-Yves Le Drian told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

"If not tackled head on, this country risks new sanctions," he added.

Senior Iranian officials have repeatedly said that the country’s missile program is purely defensive, stressing that it is not up to France or any other country to make decisions about Iran’s defense issues.

In December, Tehran advised Paris to be careful in its views about the Islamic Republic after French President Emmanuel Macron called for talks on Iran’s ballistic missiles.