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Developing a missile programme is Iran’s sovereign right, says Russia

September 22, 2018 at 9:37 am

Iranian missile, 23 July 2017 [Vahid Reza Alaei/Iranian Defense Ministry]

Russia has rejected the principle of negotiating the lifting of US sanctions against Iran in return for Tehran stopping the development of its missile programme. A statement from the Foreign Ministry in Moscow stressed that such a programme is Iran’s “sovereign right that cannot be dealt with under the principle of diktats.”

This was Moscow’s response to US statements on the need for new negotiations to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue and Tehran’s programmes to develop ballistic missiles.

According to Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov, his country is sticking to its position on Tehran’s programmes to develop its missile capabilities. “All issues regarding this must be addressed and settled away from political and military pressure,” he insisted. “We have been calling and will always call for the resolution of any problems in international relations through negotiations and agreements.”

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However, the Russian diplomat left the door open for discussions if Tehran agrees to put the issue on the table. “If the parties involved [the US and its allies on the one hand and Iran on the other] show willingness to discuss this issue at the negotiating table, we will take an unbiased stance, but we are sure that any attempts to exert political or economic pressure, let alone military, will not work.”

The US envoy to Iran, Brian Hook, said that his country was counting on signing a new treaty with Iran, including its two nuclear programmes for the development of ballistic missiles. He pointed out that Tehran is not interested in negotiating despite the statements of US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about their readiness to meet with the Iranian leadership.

Since he announced his country’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal in May, Trump has started the process to re-impose sanctions on Tehran. He believes that the 2015 “P5+1” agreement was not enough and has gaps which need to be renegotiated, a reference to Iran’s missile programme.