Iran’s Foreign Minister claims missile program “has nothing to do with nuclear weapons”

Iran continues to develop its missile program for “defense purposes”, claiming no violation of UN Security Resolution

Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif address the press following 3 day talks in Vienna (AP)

Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif announced that Iran would continue to “further boost” its military capabilities, specifically missiles as “this [missile] program has nothing to do with nuclear weapons”.

His remarks come follow diplomatic criticism and pressure against the Islamic Republic, mainly by the United States and Israel. Iran’s missile launches in March were a violation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231. The missiles tested had the statement “Israel must be wiped out” on them, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Aerospace Division, Brid. Gen. Ali Hajizadeh, stating on the launches at the time “The reason we designed our missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers is to be able to hit our enemy the Zionist regime from a safe distance.”

Zarif claims that Iran’s missile development is for defense purposes only and stated on Sunday that “defense capabilities of the Islamic Republic of Iran are non-negotiable”.

In March, Zairf claimed that Iran’s missile development and tests do not violate the nuclear deal made with world powers stating in March “First of all, it doesn’t use obligatory terms that are used in the Security Council, so Iran is not obliged by 2231’s calls on Iran. Secondly, it creates a narrower definition of the missiles. That is, missiles that are designed to be incapable of carrying nuclear war heads. Since we do not have nuclear warheads and we have undertaken not to develop them, and the international community has put in place the best mechanisms money can buy in order to make sure that we do not develop nuclear weapons … we do not design any missiles to carry things we do not have. So these missiles do not fall within the purview of 2231 and they are not illegal.”

On Friday reports of visual confirmation made on Thursday of a Russian Iskander-M transporter erector launcher in Syria was released to the public. The surface-missile system is capable of carrying nuclear warheads and is designed to penetrate ground-bases missile defense systems. With a range of 500 kilometers, the system is able to neutralize artillery and air defense batteries, a threat to Israel’s defense missile systems.