Foreign ministry: Zarif’s stance on missile program clear

FNA – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi rejected the report trying to distort Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s support for Tehran’s missile program, adding that Zarif’s position on missile program has not changed and is clearly known by everyone.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Mousavi said Tehran’s and Zarif’s stance vis-à-vis the Iranian missile program is clear.

His remarks came after the AP characterized the Foreign Minister’s comments in an interview with the NBC News that “if the US wants to talk about missiles, it should stop selling weapons, including missiles, to regional states” as meaning that Iran is willing to negotiate on its defensive missile program at some point.

Mousavi said the top Iranian diplomat threw the ball into the United States’ court, and challenged Washington’s arms deals with regional countries.

He added that what Zarif said in the interview is called by logicians as reductio ad absurdum.

The foreign ministry spokesman described Zarif’s remarks during the interview with NBC as “accurate, well-thought and pertinent.”

Tehran has time and again asserted that its missile program is for defensive purposes and is not open to any negotiations.

Iran has always said that its missile program is a totally defensive issue part of its doctrine of deterrence, uncompromisingly reiterating that a matter of national security will never be subject to negotiations.

Last month, Mousavi said that Iran will not talk on its missile power, saying that it had earlier informed Europe about the issue.

Asked by reporters whether the EU hesitation in implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal means that they intended to add Iran missile program to the JCPOA, he said, “We don’t read minds but have given an answer to what the EU has declared. The JCPOA is the base and we don’t think about anything beyond that.”

“Iran expects nothing but the JCPOA – not a word more or a word less,” Mousavi reiterated

His remarks came after French President Emanuel Macron said in his meeting with US counterpart Donald Trump in early June that Paris and Washington wanted to reduce Iran’s ballistic missile program, contain what he called as Tehran’s regional ambitions and restore peace in the region.

Trump and his French counterpart also said that they agreed that new negotiations with Iran were needed.

Early in May, Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi underlined the defensive nature of Iran’s missile activities, saying that UN Security Council Resolution 2231 is not related to Tehran’s missile program.

Iran’s missile program is a national defense issue which is non-negotiable and never contradicts with the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, Takht Ravanchi told said in an interview with the state TV on May 02.

He referred to the US attempts to raise allegations that Iran is violating the UN Resolution 2231, and said that one of the officials at the US State Department conferred with members of the UNSC about Iran’s ballistic missile activities.

They are trying to create a negative atmosphere against Iran’s missile activities, Takht Ravanchi said.

Positions of the Islamic Republic of Iran are very clear in a way that Iran’s missile programs are not included within the framework of UNSC Resolution 2231 at all, he emphasized.

“Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities have been confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for 14 times as well,” the senior diplomat said.

Resolution 2231 terminated the provisions of previous UN resolutions against Iran, some of which had imposed restrictions on Iranian missile activities. It “calls on” Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology”.

Tehran has always said it has no nuclear warheads and that none of its missiles have been designed to carry nuclear weapons.

In February, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underlined that his country will continue its progress in defense and missile fields irrespective of the world powers’ opposition and pressures.

“We do not and will not ask for anyone’s permission for building different types of anti-armored missiles, different air defense missiles, different ground-to-ground, sea-to-sea missiles and different types of air-to-air missiles, and we will continue the same path and (increase our) military power,” President Rouhani said in Tehran, addressing the annual nationwide February 11th rallies marking the 40th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution.

He stressed that the growth and advancement of Iran’s military power in the past 40 years has astounded the entire world, saying, “We have built missiles, fighter jets, helicopters, frigates, submarines, personnel-carriers, individual weapons and everything that our Armed Forces need and all of these have been amazing.”

President Rouhani said that today 85% of the military equipment, weapons and ammunition needed by the Iranian Armed Forces are manufactured domestically and by the country’s experts.

Elsewhere, he underscored that mass-participation of the people in the February 11 rallies indicates that “enemies’ plots against Iran have all fallen flat and they will never be able to attain their ominous goals”.

Late in January, Bahram Qassemi, the then Spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, reiterated that Iran will never allow anyone to meddle in its defense policies, reassuring that Tehran’s missile program is for the sake of deterrence and subject to no negotiation.

Qassemi said that the Islamic Republic acts independently in adopting its defense policies and will never allow other countries to interfere in that regard.

Speaking in an interview with the IRIB News Agency, which was published on January 27, he said, “As we have said time and again, we determine our own defense policies and will not allow others to interfere with such issues.”

Iran will never hold negotiations with others about its missiles and defensive matters and will follow its own national and indigenous policies, he said.

The Iranian diplomat reiterated that Iran’s missile program is a domestic issue of a completely deterrent nature and has been designed to defend the country.