Iran has rejected “baseless and unwarranted” concerns voiced by NATO leaders about Tehran’s missile program during a Wednesday summit and condemned their “repetitious” accusations against the country.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Thursday touched on a joint declaration of the allies, including their purported concern about Iran’s missile tests and what they called Iran’s destabilizing activities in the Middle East.
“We reject and condemn as before the repetitious allegations of this statement on Iran,” he said, suggesting that the declaration had been issued under US pressure.
Qassemi said Iran has “closely monitored the developments and debates of this meeting, especially the American attitudes and pressures on the members” of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
“Unfortunately, despite the fact that NATO’s greatest spending is made on the security of the United States, this country (US) is unabashedly trying to impose its views and policies on other nations, especially European states through exerting pressure.”
As President Donald Trump prepared to leave the White House for the summit in Brussels on Tuesday, he said the US was spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them, urging them to double their military budget.
How much of the US money actually benefits the alliance is a matter of debate, with other members saying Trump’s focus on military spending is misplaced.
The members, however, tried to mask their divisions in the alliance by highlighting the areas on which they maintain consensus, including Iran’s nuclear and missile programs as well as its influence in the Middle East.
They claimed that Iran’s activities were “inconsistent” with UN Resolution 2231 adopted in 2015 to endorse the country’s nuclear agreement and took the country to task over its “support to a variety of armed non-state actors.”
Qassemi said, “It is a matter of much wonder and contemplation that certain sides continue to vainly insist on repeating delusional and baseless accusations against the policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
“NATO member states’ concerns about Iran’s missile program are completely unwarranted. The missile program of the Islamic Republic of Iran is not only not in violation of Resolution 2231, but is completely conventional and defensive,” he said.
“And Iran, like all the independent countries of the world, has the right to enjoy all conventional military-defense programs to defend the interests, the people and sovereignty of the country,” he added.
Qassemi made it clear that “such unnecessary expressions of concern will not affect Iran’s policies in maintaining, developing and strengthening the capabilities of its missile defense program.”
As for Iran’s nuclear program, the spokesman touched on frequent and continuous reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about Iran’s commitment to its obligations.
Instead of pleasing US officials, NATO members “must first worry about the non-commitment and illegal and unilateral withdrawal of one member from its international obligations” and “instead of falsifying obvious and clear realities, they should chastise the unilateral and dangerous policies of this country,” he said.
Trump withdrew the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in May, and announced plans to impose “the highest level” of economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Tehran has conditioned its stay in the deal to a set of practical European strides to make sure Iran’s dividends from the deal would not be affected when US bans return.
Qassemi also touched on Iran’s role in the region, saying the Islamic Republic has always called for and believed in regional cooperation with its neighbors, and has not missed any chance to initiate detente with them in any form.
“Iran believes that none of the regional crises has had and will have a military solution,” he said.