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Iran’s Defense Program No Pretext for US Provocations
Iran’s Defense Program No Pretext for US Provocations

Iran’s Defense Program No Pretext for US Provocations

Iran’s Defense Program No Pretext for US Provocations

Iran's top diplomat said Tehran's missile activities do not contravene a UN resolution that endorses the nuclear deal, and should not be used by the US as an excuse to stir tensions.
Mohammad Javad Zarif made the statement in a joint press conference with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in Tehran on Tuesday in reference to western reports claiming that Iran has recently tested a ballistic missile.
Fox News on Monday reported an unnamed US official as saying that Iran on Sunday test-launched a ballistic missile from a site near Semnan, east of Tehran.
US officials have claimed the alleged test could be a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
Several UNSC resolutions imposing sanctions on Tehran were suspended by Resolution 2231, which was adopted to ratify the July 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers for limiting Iran's nuclear work in exchange for the removal of international sanctions.
The UNSC scheduled urgent consultations on Tuesday regarding the test at the request of the United States.
Zarif said, "This resolution points to ballistic missiles that are designed to carry nuclear weapons. We have announced that no Iranian missiles are designed to carry a nuclear warhead and they are just conventional weapons."
Resolution 2231 "calls upon" Iran "not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology" for up to eight years.
The foreign minister said the missiles are not part of the nuclear accord or Resolution 2231.
"We hope that the question of Iran's defensive program will not be used for political games by the new US administration ... to provoke new tensions," he said.

***US Seeks to Reimpose Sanctions 
A lawmaker said on Tuesday the US claim is aimed at preparing the ground for subsequent anti-Iran moves.
Javad Karimi Qoddousi noted that Americans are after canceling Resolution 2231 and reinstating previous UN sanctions against Tehran.
"The claim shows that they are short of options to express hostility toward Iran," Qoddousi told ICANA.
"Their allegations over missiles, human rights and other excuses are similar to their previous baseless accusation that Tehran had been seeking to develop atomic weapons".
The nuclear deal settled a 12-year dispute, with western powers alleging that Iran intends to develop nuclear weapons and Tehran responding that its nuclear activities are solely peaceful and nuclear weapons are totally unacceptable.
Iran's assertion has been verified by numerous inspections of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Last March, a ballistic missile test by Iran drew a joint letter of western powers to then-UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, which claimed that the tests were "in defiance" of Resolution 2231.
State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said the US was looking into whether the alleged ballistic missile test violates the UN resolution.
"When actions are taken that violate or are inconsistent with the resolution, we will act to hold Iran accountable and urge other countries to do so as well," Toner said.
Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, condemned Iran on Monday and said he would work with other lawmakers and President Donald Trump's administration to hold Iran accountable.
"No longer will Iran be given a pass for its [allegedly] repeated ballistic missile violations, continued support of terrorism, human rights abuses and other hostile activities that threaten international peace and security," Corker contended in a written statement.

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