Defense Officials Vow Continued Advance in Iran’s Missile Program
“Given the enemy’s plots, we should increase our defense power everyday and the missile field is one of the pillars in this ground,” said former Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi who is currently the Head of the Strategic Center of the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces.
Also, Supreme Leader’s Representative at the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Ali Shirazi affirmed General Dehqan’s remarks today, and said, “The Iranian nation doesn’t allow the officials to give up development of the missile power.”
In relevant remarks in March, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Tehran would continue to enhance military capabilities to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“We have always said we will continue with developing our defense capacity and the defense equipment has nothing to do with chemical weapons,” Zarif wrote on his Twitter account.
“Compared to other regional states, we spend only a mere portion on the defense equipment. The missiles are only for defensive purposes and we have not invaded any country, neither we will do so in the future,” he added.
The foreign minister noted, “If we had missiles during Saddam’s war on us, they may have discouraged or at least reduced his indiscriminate attacks on our civilians. But when Saddam rained missiles on us and gassed our people for eight years, no one helped us.”
Zarif went on to add, “I challenge those who accuse Iran of provocation to make the same statement as IRGC commander: we will not use force except in defense. Neither the JCPOA (nuclear deal) nor the UN Security Council Resolution prohibit Iran from missiles not designed for nuclear warheads. Read the document: It’s plain English not legalese.”
The UN and most of the UN Security Council members have previously confirmed that Iran’s missile tests do not violate the contents of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and Resolution 2231 of the UN Security Council.
Iran has announced on different occasions that its tested missiles are not capable of carrying nuclear warheads as the US and some western countries have claimed.
Last month, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov also said his country is against sanctions to be imposed against Iran because Iran has not violated any resolution with its missile tests.
“I deem as unacceptable sanctions against Iran and in no way should the issue of imposing sanctions against Iran be discussed,” Gatilov said.
He reiterated that his country has explicitly voiced its opposition to imposing sanctions against Iran at the UN Security Council.
“Iran has not violated any of UN Security Council’s (UNSC) resolutions,” Gatilov added.
He said there are not bans or prohibitions with regard to the missile tests conducted by Iran.
“There are no bans in the UN Security Council’s resolutions or other decisions of the Council,” Gatilov added.
Resolution 2231, which endorses the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — the Iran-G5+1 agreement — provides for the termination of the provisions of previous Security Council resolutions over the Iranian nuclear program.
On March 9, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps successfully fired two ballistic missiles as part of measures to assess its capabilities. The missiles were fired during large-scale drills.
Iran says its missiles are defensive and designed to carry conventional explosives only.