Iran FM gives interview claiming Iran’s missile and nuclear programs are peaceful; Threatens to resume nuclear program if US leaves deal; Netanyahu held emergency cabinet meeting following Iran’s missile test; Lieberman: Missile test is a slap in the face for the United States and its allies. (Photo: CC), September 25, 2017.
Iran’s Foreign Minister threatened the option of “going back with greater speed to its nuclear program” if the nuclear agreement was violated by world powers, specifically the United States.
In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Zariff, claimed Iran’s nuclear efforts are peaceful and that its missile program is for defense purposes only, defending its missile test over the weekend.
On the nuclear deal, he threatened “Iran has a number of options, which include walking away from the deal and going back with greater speed to its nuclear program… Iran has committed itself never to develop nuclear weapons, both as a member of the NPT [Treaty of Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons] and in the deal itself.”
On Iran’s missile program, he stated that Iran “time and again… we have proved that our missiles are for defense”, claiming the “objective” of the nuclear deal is to that “Iran should have a nuclear program that will never produce nuclear weapons.”
Zariff stated that the Trump Administration does not have authority to verify if the deal is being honored as it is the International Atomic Energy Agency’s role, stating that the deal “does not absolve President Trump and the Administration of the responsibility because the only authority that has been recognized in the nuclear deal to verify is the IAEA.”
He additionally dismissed the claims of “sunset clause” in the agreement, stating that “There is no sunset clause. Iran has committed itself never to develop nuclear weapons, both as a member of the NPT and in the deal itself.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu held an emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday to address Iran’s most recent missile test that the Islamic Republic carried out over the weekend.
Iran showed off its newest missile “Khorramshahr” in a military parade Friday before successfully testing the missile. Iran confirmed it had tested the missile “capable of carrying multiple warheads”, its media reporting that “Iran has released footage of the successful test-launch of its new ballistic missile, Khorramshahr, a few hours after it was unveiled during a military parade in the capital city of Tehran. The Khorramshahr missile has become smaller in size and more tactical and it will be operational in the near future.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani defended the missile test over the weekend, stating, “Iran will promote our defensive and military power as much as we deem necessary. We seek no one’s permission to defend our land. He also stated that “Whether you like it or not we are going to help Syria, Yemen and Palestine, and we will strengthen our missiles.”
Israel’s Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, address Iran’s missile test, referring to it as a “provocation” stating, “The ballistic missile that was fired by Iran is not only a provocation and a slap in the face for the United States and its allies [as well as] an attempt to test them, but also further proof of the Iranian ambitions to become a world power and threaten countries in the Middle East and all the countries of the free world. Imagine what would happen if Iran would acquire nuclear weapons. That is what it is striving for. We cannot allow it to happen.”
Iran last carried out a missile test towards the end of May of this year, testing the “Simorgh” missile, a missile capable of delivering satellites into orbit. Iranian media confirmed the missile test’s success, stating at the time “The Imam Khomeini Space Centre was officially opened with the successful test of the Simorgh space launch vehicle. The Simorgh can place a satellite weighing up to 250 kg in an orbit of 500 km.” It claimed its space program is peaceful and that the rockets cannot carry nuclear warheads.
In January, Iran first tested the Khorramshahr (the missile testing this weekend), violating the United Nations resolution banning such missile tests. The test was a failure, reportedly reaching 600 miles before exploding.
In May of 2016, Iran reported that it successfully tested a medium-range ballistic missile, the missile tested reported to be capable of reaching over 1, 240 miles. Iran’s Tasnim news agency quoted Iran’s Deputy Chief of Army, Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi at the time who stated “We tested a missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers and eight meters error margin two weeks ago. An eight-meter error margin means …full accuracy.”
In March of last year, Iran tested two ballistic missiles with “Israel must be wiped out” written on the missiles. Head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s Aerospace Division, Brid. Gen. Ali Hajizadeh, confirmed the test stating 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.”
Iran is prohibited from testing ballistic missiles under United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, as well as under the nuclear deal made between world powers and the United States.