Iran not to negotiate over its missile programme, says minister

| Sunday, April 10, 2016 - 15:43
First Published |
Mohammad Javad Zarif

He says, defence capabilities of Iran are not open to negotiations | Photo: IANS

Tehran: Iran will never negotiate over its missile programme as it is a matter of national defence, the country's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said here on Sunday.

The minister told a joint press conference with Estonian Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand that the US knows the missile issue and defence capabilities of the Islamic republic are not open to negotiations, Xinhua reported.

If the US is serious about the arms, it is better to reconsider the sales of the weapons to some countries which use them against the Yemenis and the Palestinians, he said.

On Thursday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US was open to a "new arrangement" with Iran for resolving the issues pertaining to the country's missile programme.

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Also, a senior Iranian military official dismissed on Friday the remarks of the top US diplomat on Iran's missile programme as "impudent".

Iran's deputy joint chief of staff of the armed forces, Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri, called on the country's foreign ministry to respond "firmly" to Kerry's calls for missile talks with Tehran.

"The missile power is non-negotiable, and for developing its defence capabilities Iran does not get permission from anybody," Jazayeri said.

The White House is critical of Iran's missile programme and deems it a threat to regional and world peace.

However, the Islamic republic said its missile programme is for peaceful purposes and no measure can strip the Islamic republic of its legitimate and legal rights to boost its defensive capabilities and to safeguard national security.

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