“We Will Severely Confront Any Move Over Our Missiles”
- JULY 2016 – Iran has warned that it will “severely confront” any attempt by the US and European powers to restrict its ballistic missile testing. Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on national television on Monday night, “We will severely confront any move — be it political, legal, or technical — that hinders our missile program.”
The issue has limited the July 2015 nuclear deal, implemented in January between Iran and the 5+1 Powers. Claiming that the launches of medium-range missiles violate a UN resolution passed at the time of the agreement, the US has imposed new sanctions on Iranian individuals and companies linked to the program.
In late March, the US, Britain, France, and Germany said they would take the matter to the UN Security Council, although it is unlikely that any action will be approved because of likely Russian and Chinese objections.
Last week, a draft report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, leaked to the media, said that the missile tests in March were incompatible with the “constructive spirit” of the nuclear agreement. However, he said any measures were up to the Council’s 15 members.
Araqchi said that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif “had a very heated telephone conversation with Mr. Ban Ki-moon” over the report. He said that Tehran hopes Ban will revise the report for publication, “otherwise, it will entail a harsh treatment from the Iranian Foreign Ministry”.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi repeated on Monday that Iran’s missile program is not in breach of Resolution 2231, because the Qiam missiles are not capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
In the March launches, the missiles flew up to 1,400 km (870 miles) inside Iran, hitting their targets with precision, according to the Iranian military.
“We Should Push US and Europe Back”
Araqchi said on Monday night, “We should always expect [the US and European powers] to try and come forward regarding the missile issue at whatever opportunity [they can find], and we should push them back.”
The Supreme Leader’s top advisor, Ali Akbar Velayati, added, “The Americans have failed to fulfill their obligations [under the nuclear deal], which were the removal of the sanctions and their effects, freedom of trade and scientific, technological, and business ties between Iran and Western countries.
He censured the other 5+1 Powers — Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China: “We have to demand the reason for their silence on the Americans’ oath-breaking.” www.mesop.de