Iran’s Defense Minister: Iran’s Missiles Not Negotiable

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Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan reiterated that any information about the country’s missile industry and scientists are highly confidential and would never become a topic of talks between Tehran and the world powers.

“The missile issue has not been raised in the negotiations and Iran’s missile power will never be an issue for negotiations with anyone,” Dehqan told reporters in a press conference in Tehran on Saturday.

Asked if Tehran has permitted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit its military site in Parchin, near Tehran, he said, “The Agency has visited Parchin several times and taken samples; therefore, this is not an issue for discussions now.”

Dehqan stressed that Iran would never provide anyone with “information about its defense scientists”, and added, “This issue is not acceptable to us.”

Asked if the UN nuclear watchdog has raised new questions on Iran’s use of Exploding Bridge Wire (EBW) detonators, he said, “The Agency hasn’t raised new questions and they were the same old questions which had already been answered and no new ambiguities were raised.”

He added that Iran has presented detailed response to the IAEA’s questions about EBW detonators during the recent visit to Tehran by IAEA cheif Yukiya Amano.

The US officials have stated several times that they intend to include Iran’s ballistic missile technology in the nuclear talks, while Tehran has repeatedly stressed that it would not allow inclusion of any other topic in the negotiations but those related to its nuclear program.

Iranian Foreign Minister and top negotiator in talks with the world powers Mohammad Javad Zarif had also stressed earlier that Iran’s defensive missiles is no topic for the ongoing negotiations between Tehran and the sextet of powers.

“It will be wrong to assume that the only application of Iran’s defensive missiles that have not and will not be the subject of any negotiations is carrying unconventional weapons,” Zarif said in a joint press conference with his Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz in Tehran earlier this year and in response to a question by an Austrian reporter who asked if Iran did not have a nuclear weapons program then why it produced ballistic missiles which have Europe within their range.

The Iranian foreign minister underlined that such wrong assumptions were based on certain media hypes.

Zarif reiterated that the Iran-world powers talks would never deal with subjects other than the nuclear issue.

“Iran’s nuclear program will always remain peaceful and in this case no one can claim that Iran’s missiles will carry nuclear weapons, because Iran does not produce nuclear weapons to be carried by missiles or any other delivery system,” the Iranian foreign minister said.

In February, Zarif dismissed media reports that Tehran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) would discuss Iran’s missile program in their talks in Vienna, and said the country’s nuclear program has no military dimensions.

“Iran’s nuclear program is not related to the military issues and our military program is not related to the current negotiations,” Zarif told reporters after meeting EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton – who presided the G5+1 delegations in talks with Iran – in Vienna for a working dinner on February 17.

Tehran launched an arms development program during the 1980-88 Iraqi imposed war on Iran to compensate for a US weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and fighter planes.

Yet, Iranian officials have always stressed that the country’s military and arms programs serve defensive purposes and should not be perceived as a threat to any other country.

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