In a post on his official Twitter page on Wednesday, Zarif said Iran has no option but to rely on its domestic capabilities to promote its defense capabilities as it did during Iraq’s imposed war against the country in 1980s, during which countries did not sell Iran any means of defense but rather equipped the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein with bombs and missiles to hit the Islamic Republic, Press TV reported.
“For 8 YEARS, Saddam showered our cities with missiles & bombs provided by East & West. Meanwhile, NO ONE sold Iran any means of defense. We had no choice but building our own,” said the tweet.
“Now they complain. Instead of skirting the issue, US must end arms sales to Saddam's reincarnations,” it added.
Zarif attached pictures to his tweet, showing the bombing of the Iranian city of Khorramshahr during the Iraqi war on Iran, US-made bombs used by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and Palestinians injured by Israeli forces in Gaza to remind about the US‘s arms support for its allies in the region.
This came after The Associated Press misconstrued Zarif’s comments about the US arms sales to regional countries during his interview with NBC News.
Speaking to NBC News on Monday, Zarif had condemned the United States’ arms sales to regional countries, saying the sales had made “our region ready to explode.” “So if they (the US) want to talk about our missiles, they need first to stop selling all these weapons, including missiles, to our region,” he added.
The Associated Press published a report, including in the title “Zarif Raises Idea of Talks (about Iran’s missile program).”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also reacted to Zarif's comment, saying that "for the first time, the Iranians have said that they are prepared to negotiate about their missile program."
President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff also asserted on Wednesday that Iran’s defensive power is non-negotiable.
“The country’s defensive might is a redline. We will not be holding negotiations in this area under any circumstances, and have said so on repeated occasions,” Mahmoud Vaezi said.
Iranian officials have repeatedly underlined that the country’s military equipment are merely deterrent and the projectiles are not designed to carry nuclear warheads.
Iran also says that its conventional missile program is not up for negotiations.