Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 May 2019

Iran will continue working on missile technology despite warnings, officials say

Iranian security officials say they will continue to develop missile and satellite technology

A picture of a Sayad missile being fired from the Talash missile system during an air defence drill at an undisclosed location in Iran. AFP 
A picture of a Sayad missile being fired from the Talash missile system during an air defence drill at an undisclosed location in Iran. AFP 

Iran will continue to develop its missile and satellite technology, despite warnings from the west to stop, top Iranian officials said on Tuesday, according to local news agencies.

The country's minister for defence and armed forces Amir Hatami said Iran's missile capabilities are not negotiable, according to Tasnim news agency, while another official said they will continue to improve the precision of their missiles.

“The enemies say Iran’s missile power should be eliminated, but we have repeatedly said our missile capabilities are not negotiable,” Iranian Defence Minister Amir Hatami was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

Iran's secretary of their national security council Ali Shamkhani said it will continue to work on satellite technology, despite western pressures, although they will not seek to increase the range of its missiles.

"Iran has no scientific or operational restriction for increasing the range of its military missiles, but based on its defensive doctrine, it is continuously working on increasing the precision of the missiles, and has no intention to increase their range," Mr Shamkhani, a close aide to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was quoted as saying by state broadcaster IRIB.

Tehran has been under pressure to halt its development of missile technology by the international community but has defied warnings.

A UN Security Council resolution, which intends to stop Iran's suspected nuclear missile technology ambitions, calls on Iran to refrain from developing ballistic missile technology capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Iran denies its missiles are nuclear-capable.

The same resolution enshrined the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in which Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States agreed to lift sanctions in exchange for Tehran curtailing its uranium enrichment programme.

The deal was thrown into doubt after US President Donald Trump withdrew last May, leaving the remaining signatories in the difficult situation of committing to the deal or defying US sanctions.

Doing business with Iran has become harder following the US withdrawal as international payment facilitators refuse to break US sanctions.

The European signatories are attempting to develop a special purpose vehicle (SPV), which will facilitate secure international payments.

But Iran's continued development of ballistic missiles has strained European patience, leading to warnings in negotiations of further sanctions if they do not stop.

"We are ready, if the talks don't yield results, to apply sanctions firmly, and they know it," France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters.

Tehran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi retorted that "Iran's missile capability is not negotiable, and this has been brought to the attention of the French side during the ongoing political dialogue between Iran and France".

Updated: January 29, 2019 02:14 PM

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