This one-day trip is also seen as evidence of the balancing act that France and other European nations find themselves in, following Donald Trump's promise to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal if major flaws aren't fixed.
Le Drian faced immediate pushback over French concerns about Iran's ballistic missiles, starting with Iranian students waving signs at Iran's Mehrabad International Airport protesting his comments.
Yadollah Javani, the Supreme Leader's adviser at the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), also said it would be a "miscalculation" for the West to think Iran is willing to negotiate on its missile programme.
"The condition for negotiating Iran's missiles is the destruction of the nuclear weapons and long-range missiles of the United States and Europe", Iranian Armed Forces spokesman Masoud Jazayeri said on Saturday, as cited by state media.
Le Drian's team has made it clear to Tehran that he is no "emissary of Donald Trump", and wants to preserve the nuclear deal.More news: Etsy, Kickstarter among tech giants suing FCC over net neutrality
Abolghassem Delfi, Iran's ambassador to France, has said that Tehran and Paris ties have been on a positive trend since the conclusion of the 2015 nuclear deal.
"Iran's defence power is not a threat to any country, and its enhancement is a function of the security needs", Shamkani was quoted by Tasnim as saying. But France's top diplomat has said that without an end to ballistic missile tests by Iran, it will "always be suspected, with reason, of wanting to develop nuclear weapons".
"There are ballistic programs of missiles that can reach several thousand kilometers, which are not compatible with UN Security Council resolutions and exceed the sole need of defending Iran's borders", he told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, adding, "If not tackled head-on, this country risks new sanctions". "Iranian officials must have transferred the Islamic Republic of Iran's viewpoints to him and he must have realized that he would not achieve anything against Iranians' interests".
Ali Akbar Velayeti made the remarks a day after French Foreign Minister paid a visit to Tehran and met with Iran's SNSC Secretary Ali Shamkhani and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif. According to the French Treasury, Iran's trade exchanges with France stood at €3.8 billion past year. They should not bow down to Iran's demands.
While French leaders, including President Emmanuel Macron, have criticized Iran's missile program, French companies like oil giant Total SA, carmaker Renault and airplane manufacturer Airbus have bullishly entered the Iranian market after the atomic accord, complicating any possible sanctions.