Missiles Meant to Deter Threats

Missiles Meant to Deter Threats Missiles Meant to Deter Threats

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday said Iran is developing its missiles capabilities to deter hostile countries from carrying out their military threats.

The top diplomat, who was in Australia on an official visit, made the remark in an interview with Sky News Australia.

Zarif said the international community should unite to condemn Israel when asked about Iran's latest ballistic missile tests.

He said Iranian missiles, which reportedly carried anti-Israel messages, reflected Iran's opposition to regular threats by Israel to attack its nuclear facilities.

"That threat means releasing radioactive materials to the atmosphere that may cause harm, death and injury to millions of people in Iran. We will not take action against anybody, but we will not allow people to threaten our people," he said.

  Good Sign

On the latest developments in crisis-hit Syria, the foreign minister said Russia's decision to withdraw from Syria is a "good sign" because it indicates that a cessation of hostilities is holding.

He said it was up to the Syrian people to find a political solution to the conflict and to decide the fate of President Bashar al-Assad.

"We never supported anyone in particular; we supported the Syrian government which is recognized by the United Nations; we also supported an international fight against [the self-styled Islamic State militant group] which is a common threat to all of us," he said.

Zarif said IS had been aided financially by other countries.

"Some countries in our region unfortunately and some countries outside the region considered a geostrategic necessity to change the government in Syria or to, in their view, balance Iranian influence in the region," he said.

"Unfortunately the cost to them, the Syrians, and international peace and security has been great."

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop held talks with Zarif on Tuesday in Canberra during the first visit by a senior Iranian minister in 13 years.

The pair discussed boosting trade ties following the removal of sanctions against Iran as part of a nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers, missile tests, people smuggling, human rights and extremism.

The Iranian foreign minister reinforced that Iran would not force failed asylum seekers to return if they were not accepted in Australia.

"If they want to come back to Iran voluntarily, we will always accept them; we will not force them to come to Iran because if we were to force them to come to Iran your human rights organizations would be the first to criticize us," he said.

Zarif also said it was too early to see the economic benefits of the lifting of sanctions, but they did have an effect on daily life in Iran.