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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Zarif: Iran's missile tests no violation of nuclear deal

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Kuala Lumpur, March 14, IRNA -- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that Iran's missile tests is in no way a breach of its nuclear deal.

Talking to Radio New Zealand on Monday, the foreign minister stressed that Iran spent only a fraction of what other regional countries do on its defense equipment.

Forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) conducted a maneuver dubbed 'Velayat Strength' which ended on March 9.

They successfully testfired several ballistic missiles from different places on the last day of the drills.

Some Western media have claimed that the test has violated Iran's commitments based on the JCPOA.

Zarif said Iran has always made it clear that it will go on with its plans to develop defense capacities.

However, he said, such capacities have nothing to do with nuclear arms.

The foreign minister said Iran has provided the strongest guarantees that Tehran is not seeking to gain access to nuclear arms so the missiles recently tested are not programmed to carry nuclear warheads.

Zarif went on to reiterate that Iran's missiles are only for defense purposes because Iran has never invaded any country in recent times and is not going to do so in the future.

Speaking to Morning Report, the Iranian Foreign Minister said Iran's missile tests were not against a UN Security Council resolution, and Tehran would continue to develop the weapons.

According to the website of Radio New Zealand, he said Iran should not face new sanctions for its recent ballistic missile tests.

But Zarif said Iran needed missiles.

'We spent a fraction of any other country in the region on defence, and missiles are a means of defence that we require,' he said.

The missiles were not designed to carry nuclear warheads, and Iran had provided guarantees that it would not develop nuclear weapons, he said.

Mr. Zarif said he hoped New Zealand and Iran could rebuild their trade relationship.

There were opportunities for investment in geothermal, nano and bio technologies, which Iran had made progress in, he said.

Mr. Zarif met with his New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully yesterday, the first such meeting in more than a decade.

They discussed trade and economic issues, but also New Zealand's concerns about human rights abuses in Iran, Mr McCully said.

Iran is currently being investigated by the UN for human rights abuses but Mr Zarif told Morning Report this was politically motivated.

'We are interested in a genuine human rights dialogue, not a sham,' he said.

In the 1980s the country was one of New Zealand's top five export markets, and a massive importer of lamb.

Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said Iran's recent maneuvers and weapons used in them are neither contradictory to the commitments made in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nor against Resolution 2231 of the UN Security Council.

Foreign Ministry Director General for Political and International Affairs Hamid Baeedinejad said on Sunday that there is no contradiction between Iranian defense power and the UNSC resolution 2231.

He said that the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 has nothing to do with Iranian missile defense power and there is no contradiction between the missile test and the resolution.

UNSC resolution 2231 acknowledged the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and they have nothing to do with Iran's missile capabilities, he wrote on his telegram.

Iran never accepted the issue of its missile to be considered as part of nuclear talks with G5+1 on the nuclear dispute, he said.

'We know that extremists are very angry with Iran missile test and do their best to stop it by violating the JCPOA or impose new sets of sanctions on Iran but the US government and G5+1, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council should abide by the rule of the game,' he said.

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