Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the country’s missile program is solely for defensive purposes and is not up for negotiations.
“First of all, Iran’s missiles are for defense and we need them for deterrence. We use resources for military expenses far less than any country in the region and that’s why we have announced from the very beginning that our missiles are non-negotiable,” Zarif said in an interview with the Doha-based Al Jazeera broadcaster on Saturday.
Zarif, who is in Qatar to attend the Doha Forum 2018, made the remarks in response to a question about US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s allegation in a post on his Twitter account on December 1, who claimed that Iran had “just test-fired a medium range ballistic missile” in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.
Pompeo condemned as “growing” Tehran’s “missile testing and missile proliferation,” and called on the Islamic Republic to cease these activities.
UN Security Council Resolution 2231 enshrined the 2015 international nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), from which Washington has withdrawn under the pretext, among others, that it should have included Iran’s missile program as well.
Zarif added that Resolution 2231 did not prohibit Iran from testing missiles but had banned the Islamic Republic from testing missiles aimed at carrying nuclear warheads.
This is while the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified that “Iran’s missile activities are for peaceful purposes,” the top Iranian diplomat pointed out.