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ABU DHABI (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday he wanted to remain firm with Iran regarding its ballistic missile programme and influence in the Middle East, but warned regional countries against exacerbating rising tensions.

The French leader arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday for a two-day visit that will see him inaugurate a new Louvre museum, hold talks on the geopolitical situation with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, before ending his trip in Dubai to attend an economic forum.

In an interview with the government-linked al-Ittihad newspaper posted on the French embassy website, Macron repeated his country's stance that there was no alternative to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

"At the same time, it is also important for us to remain firm with Iran with regard to its regional activities and its ballistic missile program," Macron was quoted as saying.

With tensions mounting in Lebanon following the resignation of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and an attempted ballistic missile strike on Riyadh by Houthi rebels in Yemen, Macron warned about an escalation in the region.

"Today, more than ever, we need a region of peace and responsible regional actors working for the stability of the Middle East," Macron said. "The opening of an additional front would only exacerbate tensions and further destabilise the region."

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall in Abu Dhabi and John Irish in Paris; Editing by Leigh Thomas)

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