Iran tests missiles to improve precision: Zarif
In an interview with American magazine ‘Newsweek’, Iranian FM Zarif said testing missiles is to improve their precision, a quality that is not needed if a missile is designed to carry nuclear warheads.
To a question about the prospect of Iran-US improved relations under the nuclear agreement, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Newsweek that US was obliged to refrain from taking any measures to undermine economic relations between Iran and other states, but “unfortunately, it has done exactly that, particularly under the Trump administration.”
About Iran’s firm position on the non-negotiability of the nuclear deal, he said “every aspect of the deal had been fully and repeatedly renegotiated before we reached an agreement. Everybody else who participated in…[it] knows that if we reopen the deal to negotiation, we would be reopening Pandora’s box, which would be impossible to close again.”
Would the EU side with the US if the agreement dies? “Iran has lived with pressure and sanctions in the past,” Zarif said. “It has not broken Iran’s determination to pursue its interests, which are in line with international norms and international obligations. We will never pursue a nuclear weapons option, but we have options within international law that are available in the agreement; options that are available if Iran decides to walk away from the agreement in response to a US violation.”
When asked about what those options are, Zarif said “I would want to keep everybody guessing.”
Asked if Iran’s missile program is in violation of the spirit of the agreement, Zarif stressed that the program is “defensive”.
“Iranian ballistic missiles are not designed to carry nuclear weapons,” Zarif said. “The reason we continue testing them is that we want to improve their precision. If a missile is designed to carry nuclear weapons, you don’t need precision. You just need range because wherever they hit, they create the necessary deterrence. The range would be important, but the precision wouldn’t be important.”
He went on to add, “Iran focuses on improving the precision because we want to use these missiles as a means of carrying conventional warheads. We did not agree to anything limiting our defense capabilities for [the] very obvious reason that the United States is sending a lot of weapons to our region.”