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Iran missile program serves national interests, will not be ditched: Iran official

13 July 2016 14:22

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A senior Iranian official says the Islamic Republic’s missile program serves the country’s national interests and will not be abandoned.

Speaking to reporters a day ahead of the first annual anniversary of the signing of a nuclear deal between Iran and six other countries, Hamid Ba’eedinejad, a senior official at the Iranian Foreign Ministry and a negotiator at the talks that led to the deal, said on Wednesday that Iran’s missile program is defined in completely defensive terms.

Responding to a question about recent opposition by certain Western parties to the Iranian missile program, Ba’eedinejad said, “We cannot set the country’s national interests based on others’ viewpoints.”

“The foreign opponents of Iran’s missile program should not expect Iran to quit its defensive and security interests. Iran’s missile program is no threat against” regional and other countries, he said.

The United Nations (UN)’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has drafted a report on a UN Security Council resolution that endorsed the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), claiming that Iran’s missile activities are in violation of the “constructive spirit” of the agreement and the resolution.

In his Wednesday remarks, Ba’eedinejad said the draft report on Resolution 2231 is “highly imbalanced,” expressing hope that the version of the report to be officially published will be “balanced and comprehensive.”

Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had talked to Ban, expressing Iran’s vehement disapproval of the draft report.

Commenting on the state of the implementation of the JCPOA, Ba’eedinejad said the process has been “satisfactory to some extent.”

“As of now, the members of the negotiating team believe the JCPOA has not been breached” by the other sides, he said.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia — plus Germany signed the JCPOA on July 14, 2015 following some 23 months of intensive talks.

Under the deal, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program and provide enhanced access to international atomic monitors in return for the termination of all nuclear-related sanctions imposed by the United States, the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) against the country.

The US Congress, however, has been taking various measures aimed at preserving the obstacles in the way of US and European trade with Iran. European banks have balked at the idea of resuming transaction with Iran, fearing punitive US measures.

Ba’eedinejad expressed hope that “with negotiations and consultations, the likelihood exists for the resolution of the problems.”

He said the Iran-P5+1 Joint Commission on the JCPOA — which monitors the implementation of the deal — is to convene next week in the Australian capital, Vienna.

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