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Iran reject negotiations on its missile program, considering it ‘red line’

An upgraded version of the short-range surface-to-surface Fateh-110 missile is test fired in 2010 in this photo released by the Iranian Defense Ministry [Vahid Reza Alaei / Iranian Defense Ministry]
Iranian missile [Vahid Reza Alaei / Iranian Defense Ministry]

Iran reiterated, Wednesday, its rejection of negotiations over its missile program.

Mahmoud Vaezi, the head of Iran’s presidential office, said:

Our defence system is a red line, and we have repeatedly said that we will not negotiate on it.

At a meeting of the US government at the White House, Pompeo claimed that Iran said it is ready to negotiate on the missile program.

Moreover, US President Donald Trump said, Tuesday, that significant progress has been made with Iran. Without elaborating on the nature of this progress, the president said he is seeking to “hold negotiations and work with it.” Trump also stated that he is not seeking regime change in the Islamic Republic.

The head of the Iranian presidential office linked the negotiations with Washington to its cancellation of the sanctions imposed on Tehran. Vaezi that if the sanctions were lifted, there would be an appropriate opportunity to negotiate with the US administration within the framework of the 1+ 5 group, the international six-state group, including the US, that concluded the nuclear agreement on 14 July 2015.

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Pompeo’s comments about Tehran’s readiness to negotiate on missile capabilities came after Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif mentioned the possibility of putting forward his country’s ballistic missile program for negotiations, “if Washington stops selling arms to its Gulf allies in the Middle East”, in an interview with NBC News, earlier on Tuesday.

However, Alireza Miryousefi, spokesperson for the Iranian mission at the United Nations, said that Zarif’s statements “were misinterpreted,” asserting that “Iran’s missiles… are absolutely and under no condition non-negotiable with anyone or any country.”

“Zarif’s answer was wrongly interpreted,” Miryousefi added in a post on Twitter.

Miryousefi reiterated Zarif’s statement from the interview: “if the United States wants to talk about missiles, it must stop arms sales to the countries of the Middle East, including the sale of missiles.” Miryousefi then confirmed that this “does not mean in any way that Iran wants to negotiate some aspects of its missile powers.”

“Iran’s missile powers… are absolutely and under no condition non-negotiable with anyone or any country,” Miryousefi clarified.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Abbas Mousavi said, on Tuesday evening, that Zarif’s response to the question on NBC News “was smart and accurate,” adding that he confirmed through this response “that is it impossible” to hold negotiations at this time.

Mousavi wrote on Twitter that the Iranian foreign minister “threw the ball to the US Court by subjecting the matter of US arms sales to a question,” in response to the network’s question on the possibility of negotiating Iran’s missile program.

“The talk about negotiating missile powers to solve people’s living problems are a betrayal,” said the head of the political bureau of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Yadollah Javani.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said last Sunday that his country is ready to hold negotiations with Washington if it lifts the sanctions, returns to the nuclear agreement, and commits to mutual respect.

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