Iran fully prepared; US never dares to attack: Deputy FM

Press TV – A senior Iranian diplomat says the United States does not dare to attack Iran as it knows well that the Islamic Republic stands fully prepared to defend itself against any aggression.

“We are completely ready to defend the country and the Americans are aware of this; therefore, I believe that they do not dare to attack us and that is why we believe that no war will break out in the region,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi said in an interview with Russia’s RT Arabic television news network on Tuesday.

Tensions have been simmering between the US and Iran since May 2018, when Washington abruptly pulled out of a multilateral deal on Tehran’s nuclear program.

The White House then moved to unleash a campaign of “maximum” economic pressure, coupled with military provocations and threats, against the Islamic Republic.

Earlier this year, the tensions saw a sharp rise as the US and its allies blamed Tehran for a set of suspicious attacks on oil tankers in the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf. Iran rejected the claims, and said those attacks appear more like false-flag operations aimed at framing the Islamic Republic.

Washington, in June, sent an advanced RQ-4 Global Hawk reconnaissance drone on a spying mission into Iranian airspace, prompting Iran’s air defenses to shoot down the intruding aircraft.

‘Nukes have no place in Iran’s security ideology’

Elsewhere in his remarks, Araqchi rejected allegations that Iran is in pursuit of nuclear weapons, saying such arms have no place in the country’s security ideology.

“Using nuclear weapons is forbidden based on a fatwa by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and (late Founder of the Islamic Republic) Imam Khomeini and such a plan (to develop nukes) has no place in our security ideology. Iran is committed to fulfilling all of its responsibilities and duties,” he said.

He criticized the Western countries for failing to implement international agreements and recognize other states’ right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

“They [Westerners] are trying to create obstacles in the way of other countries. The issue of nonproliferation of nuclear weapons is very important but the recognition of the countries’ right to use nuclear energy peacefully is also a very significant issue,” the senior Iranian diplomat added.

He noted that Iran proved its goodwill by engaging in 12 years of nuclear negotiations with the aim of allaying the concerns of certain sides prior to the conclusion in 2015 of the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

After inking the deal, Araqchi added, Iran stayed fully committed to its end of the bargain, while the other parties failed to do the same.

Pointing to Iran’s one year of “strategic patience” after the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, the diplomat said Tehran decided to gradually decrease its commitments through a step-by-step approach “in order to give diplomacy an opportunity.”

The European signatories to the deal were required by the deal to shield the Iranian economy against the sanctions that the US reinstated after abandoning the JCPOA, but they failed to do so, prompting Tehran to go for the counter-measures.

Araqchi — who served as a member of the Iranian team negotiating with major world powers — explained that the Islamic Republic’s move to scale back its commitments aims to preserve the nuclear deal and not to kill it.

Tehran has so far rowed back its nuclear commitments four times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as the European signatories — France, Britain and the UK — find practical ways to protect the mutual trade from the US sanctions.