Senior MP terms defense program “Iran’s red line” in N. talks

TEHRAN (FNA)- An Iranian parliamentarian underlined that Tehran sees no possibility for adding unrelated issues, such as its defense program, to the topics of the negotiations in its nuclear talks with the six major world powers.

The recent positions by the White House officials on certain issues are “not acceptable,” Member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mohammad Hassan Asafari said on Thursday.

“They should remember that Iran’s missile issues are not part of the negotiations in the Geneva agreement and are by no means negotiable; and the Group5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) cannot launch such a scenario,” he said.

“The issue of missiles and Iran’s missile might are part of our defense industries, and every country is entitled to build up its missile power to defend its territory,” he added.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday strongly rejected US officials’ claim that negotiators of Iran and the G5+1 are due to talk about issues other than the nuclear standoff between Tehran and the West.

“No other issues than Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities has been on the agenda in any previous round of the negotiations with the G5+1 and the next round of the talks won’t include those issues either,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said.

Her remarks came after the officials in Washington said that they want to discuss the issue of Iran’s ballistic missiles during the upcoming negotiations in Vienna and demand that it be resolved under a final deal.

“Per the Joint Plan of Action, Iran must address the (United Nations) Security Council resolutions related to its nuclear program before a comprehensive resolution can be reached,” Bernadette Meehan, National Security Council Spokesperson, told the Washington Free Beacon.

“Among other things, UN Security Council Resolution 1929 prohibits all activities involving ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches,” Meehan said. “So this issue will need to be addressed during the comprehensive discussions.”

She made the statements after the Iranian Defense Ministry announced on Monday that it has successfully tested two new missiles, including a laser-guided surface-to-surface and air-to-surface missile and a new generation of long-range ballistic missiles carrying Multiple Reentry Vehicle payloads.

Afkham described Iran’s defense program as a main constituent the country’s overall power, and said, “Iran has always announced its readiness to develop defensive interactions and cooperation with the regional states as an important instrument for materializing peace, security, stability and mutual trust.”

Iran and the world powers are due to hold the next round of nuclear talks in Vienna on February 18.

On November 24, Iran and the world powers sealed a six-month Joint Plan of Action to lay the groundwork for the full resolution of the West’s decade-old dispute with Iran over its nuclear energy program. In exchange for Tehran’s confidence-building bid to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the Sextet of world powers agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against Tehran and continue talks with the country to settle all problems between the two sides.

Then after several rounds of experts talks on how to enforce the agreement, Iran and the six major world powers finalized an agreement on ways to implement the deal.

On January 20, a confidential report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that Iran has halted its 20-percent enrichment activity under a ground-breaking deal struck with the six world powers in Geneva late in November, paving the way for the easing of some western sanctions against Tehran.

By Fars News Agency 


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