“We have announced that we will not ask permission from anyone to [strengthen] our defense and missile capability,” Zarif said in an interview with Iranian Students’ News Agency, ISNA, on Sunday.
The top Iranian diplomat went on to say that the country’s missile program does not breach the July nuclear agreement struck between Tehran and six world powers and that the deal does not ban Iran from boosting its defense capabilities.
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia – plus Germany finalized the text of the accord known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in the Austrian capital Vienna on July 14.
Based on the JCPOA, Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the lifting of all economic and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Zarif said that Iran’s missile program will continue apace and will be provided with all necessary materials and equipment.
He further dismissed as “unacceptable” claims by US officials that the Islamic Republic’s missile tests are in breach of the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, saying none of the Iranian missiles have been designed to carry “nuclear warheads.”
On October 11, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) successfully test-fired its first guided ballistic missile dubbed Emad. Washington slammed the test, claiming the projectile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
In January, the US Treasury Department said in a statement that it had imposed new sanctions on several individuals and firms over Iran’s ballistic missile program, claiming that the program “poses a significant threat to regional and global security.”
The statement said five Iranian citizens and a network of companies based in the United Arab Emirates and China were added to a US blacklist.
Iranian officials say none of the country’s missiles, including ballistic ones, have been “designed to carry nuclear warheads,” and thus their production and test are not in contravention of Resolution 2231.
The Islamic Republic has repeatedly said that its defense doctrine is based on deterrence and Iran’s military power poses no threat to other countries.
‘US should abandon sanction mentality’
Touching upon Iran’s relations with the United States, Zarif told ISNA that the US should abandon its “mentality of sanctions.”
“We are still waiting to see whether the US is serious in its commitments” concerning the lifting of sanctions, he noted.
Zarif further criticized Washington’s “wrong” policies in the Middle East region. “US policies even harm their own interests in the region since they have caused unrest and created Daesh [terrorist group],” he noted.
Zarif said that Iranian officials have reached no agreement with US officials on regional issues, saying Tehran would take a decision on extending talks with the US should Americans “correct their policies.”