“Iran is unmoved by threats as we derive security from our people. Will never initiate war, but we can only rely on our own means of defense,” Zarif wrote.
In another tweet, published minutes later, Zarif challenged Iran’s enemies to verifiably and sincerely declare the defensive nature of their military program.
“We will never use our weapons against anyone, except in self-defense. Let us see if any of those who complain can make the same statement,” he tweeted.
Zarif’s tweets also contained a video of him responding to reporters on Iran’s defensive missile program during a conference in Wellington, New Zealand, in March 2016.
Referring to Iraq’s eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s, Zarif said during the conference, “We are entitled to the rudimentary means of defense, which we need in order to prevent another Saddam Hussein around the corner attacking us with chemical weapons because the international community has failed miserably in protecting the Iranian people, in safeguarding international humanitarian law.”
US President Donald Trump tweeted early on Friday that “Iran is playing with fire” and “they don’t appreciate how kind President Obama was to them. Not me!”
Trump said that “nothing is off the table” in dealing with Iran following the missile test-firing and fellow Republicans in Congress said they would back him up with new sanctions.
New US sanctions
The US on Friday sanctioned 13 individuals and 12 entities under US Iran sanctions authority, days after the White House had put Iran "on notice" over its missile program.
In a statement on its website, the US Treasury Department listed the sanctioned individuals and entities, some of which are based in the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and China.
The US claims that the missile test by Iran violated United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 that endorsed the 2015 nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of countries, including Washington.
Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said on Thursday that Iran’s recent “successful” ballistic missile test had neither breached the deal nor the UN resolution.
“Iran’s missile tests are not, and have never been, in violation of the JCPOA or Resolution 2231,” Dehqan said.