Iran’s defense minister says the country will not wait for permission from “others” to boost its defense capabilities after the US and its allies urge the UN to take action over Tehran’s missile tests.
Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said what constitutes Iran’s regular missile drills “is based on pre-arranged plans which are carried out in order to assess the degree of its preparedness and capabilities.”
“We will continue to act on achieving defense capabilities with the aim of responding to any threat. In this course, we will not need any authorization or approval from others,” he told the state television Wednesday night.
Dehqan stressed that Iran would never move toward developing unconventional weapons.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has never had and will never have an aggressive attitude toward any nation or country, (but) in defending itself, it will use all means possible on the basis of its national interests.”
His remarks came after the US, France, Britain and Germany were reported to have called for a Security Council meeting to respond to Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests.
The Reuters news agency, citing unnamed diplomats, said experts from the 15-nation body would discuss Iran’s missile program on Friday and were expected to consider the possibility of a statement condemning it.
Dehqan predicted that the council would not take any action against Iran because its tests didn’t violate either a July nuclear agreement or a UN resolution on Tehran’s missiles.
“I am confident that the Security Council and the United Nations will not respond as our actions are neither a breach of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nor are they against Resolution 2231,” he said.
In their letter to the UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday, the US and its three European allies stopped short of calling Iran’s missile launches a “violation” of the resolution.
The tests, they claimed, were “inconsistent with” and “in defiance of” council resolution 2231, because they were “inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons,” a charge Iran vehemently denies.
“I think America, England and France must look a bit at their own national interests and stand less as an advocate of the interests of Israel as an aggressive, murderer and illegitimate regime,” Dehqan said.
UN’s Resolution 2231 “calls upon” Iran to refrain for up to eight years from activity related to ballistic missiles designed with the capability of delivering nuclear weapons.
Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member, has made clear it considers compliance with the appeal in resolution to be voluntary.
On Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Mikhail Ulyanov said Iran’s test launches did not violate the UN resolution.
“The resolution does not ban the tests,” said Ulyanov, who is the head of the ministry’s department for non-proliferation.
Tehran has also said it is under no obligation to comply with the appeal to refrain from missile work and vowed to continue developing ballistic missiles in the face of threats.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that missile power is key to Iran’s future security.
“In this jungle-like world, if the Islamic Republic seeks negotiations, trade and even technology and science, but has no defense power, won’t even small countries dare threaten Iran?” the Leader said.
“Our enemies are constantly enhancing their military and missile capabilities and given this how can we say the age of missiles has passed?” he added.
Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee expressed indignation at the prospects that there was no ground for new UN sanctions on Iran.
“As many of us feared, now it appears Iran can defy those restrictions with impunity fearing no pushback from the UN Security Council,” Republican Senator Bob Corker said.
Corker is among many US lawmakers who have demanded more sanctions on Iran over the missile tests.
Dehqan said, “The Americans basically don’t want our national power to expand in various aspects.”
“This issue attests to the efficiency and ability of our democratic, religious system which can become a model for oppressed countries and motivate them to stand against the demands” of arrogant powers, he added.