Mon, Mar 05, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Iran says ballistic missile deal is not on the table

Reuters, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

Iran will not negotiate over its ballistic missiles until the US and Europe dismantle their nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, a top Iranian military official said on Saturday.

Separately, Iran confirmed that Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif met former US secretary of state John Kerry on the sidelines of last month’s Munich Security Conference.

The New Yorker magazine earlier reported that Kerry had urged Tehran not to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal framework, despite tensions with US President Donald Trump’s administration.

While Iran has accepted curbs on its nuclear activities — which it has said are for purely peaceful purposes — it has repeatedly refused to discuss its missile program, something that the US and European countries have called for.

“The condition for negotiating Iran’s missiles is the destruction of the nuclear weapons and long-range missiles of the United States and Europe,” Iranian Armed Forces spokesman Masoud Jazayeri was quoted by the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Iran has said its missile program is defensive and that it is not related to the nuclear deal with world powers that led to the lifting of sanctions against the country.

European powers and Iran have started talks over Tehran’s role in the Middle East and are this month to meet again in Italy as part of efforts to prove to Trump that they are meeting his concerns over the deal.

On Friday, the New Yorker reported that during a meeting, which it said was attended by others involved in the nuclear deal, “Kerry quietly urged the Iranians not to abandon the deal or violate its terms — whatever the Trump administration does.”

Zarif “has always met on the sidelines of such international summits with attending personalities and elites ... in the framework of preserving Iranian interests,” Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted by IRNA as saying that

Zarif met with “John Kerry and Ernest Moniz, foreign and energy ministers of the previous US government, who have a critical attitude towards Trump administration policies,” Qasemi said.

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