Russia: US trying to demonize Iran’s missile program
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday took a swipe at the West for turning a blind eye to Israel’s nuclear stockpile while criticizing Iranian missile defenses.
In a tweet, Zarif said Britain, France, Germany and the United States “never complain about” Israel’s nuclear missiles but are outraged at Iran over its “conventional and defensive” weapons.
“E3 & US never complain about the only nuclear arsenal in West Asia—armed with missiles actually DESIGNED to be capable of carrying nukes—but has fits of apoplexy over our conventional & defensive ones,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.
The rebuke came after Israel conducted a missile test on Friday, which Zarif described as a launch that “tested a nuke-missile, aimed at Iran”.
Israel’s military remained conspicuously tight-lipped about the shadowy test of “the rocket propulsion system”.
Zarif’s comments came a day after the three European countries accused Iran of developing missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.
UN ambassadors for Britain, France and Germany said in a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that “Iran’s developments of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles” go against a UN Security Council resolution, urging Tehran not to undertake any activity related to such missiles.
They said Iran’s actions were "inconsistent" with the missile provision in the Security Council resolution endorsing a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
Zarif on Twitter also dismissed the letter as "a desperate falsehood", saying the Europeans were covering up their own "miserable incompetence" at abiding by the nuclear deal and were "bowing to US bullying".
It was an apparent reference to the Europeans’ inability to get around US sanctions, reimposed by US President Donald Trump, which have largely stopped Iran from selling its crude oil overseas, cutting into a crucial source of government income.
“If E3 want a modicum of global credibility, they can begin by exerting sovereignty rather than bowing to US bullying,” Zarif added.
Iran has always denied allegations of planning to develop nuclear missiles and says its nuclear program is only for peaceful energy production and medical purposes.
The landmark 2015 deal gave Iran relief from economic sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program. But it has been at risk of falling apart since Trump unilaterally withdrew from it in May last year and reimposed sanctions on Iran.
Demonizing Iran missiles
Meanwhile, Russia’s mission to the United Nations said the US continually tries to demonize Iranian missile activities despite lack of any damning evidence against the Islamic Republic’s defensive activities, and while Washington itself is in default of several international non-proliferation agreements.
Dmitry Polyanskiy, Moscow’s chargé d’affaires to the world body, addressed the remarks to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a letter dated November 26 that was made available on Friday.
He reminded that Iran was a signatory to many multilateral non-proliferation mechanisms, including the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the 2015 nuclear deal – officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Washington has, on numerous occasions, accused Tehran of developing nuclear-capable missiles, despite Tehran’s outright rejection of nuclear weapons of all type, and its observance of the JCPOA, which prohibits it from pursuing such armaments.
The Russian official also highlighted “the complete lack of evidence that Iran is developing or producing a nuclear weapon or means of its delivery or is deploying any infrastructure for the storage or servicing of nuclear weapons.”
He further endorsed the Islamic Republic’s continued commitment to the nuclear deal as verified by Tehran’s “refraining from activities related to ballistic missiles that are designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons.”
Nor has the UN Security Council, which has endorsed the JCPOA in the form of Resolution 2231, received any “viable information to the contrary,” Polyanskiy asserted.
However, he stated that the US would keep trying to implicate Iran in nuclear arms-related activities by, among other means, citing the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). This is while the MTCR is an informal political understanding between 35 states on export control issues, and could not be deployed as a universal legally binding instrument or used in the context of Resolution 2231 to try and incriminate Iran’s missile activities, the envoy added.
Washington was on the offensive against Iran, while itself left the JCPOA last year “in violation of Article 25 of the United Nations Charter,” and is now preventing other nations from implementing it, Polyanskiy added. After leaving the deal, the White House returned its sanctions against Tehran, and also started pushing other JCPOA members into abiding by the American embargoes.
The Russian envoy also reminded how America left the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Moscow earlier this year, and was undermining efforts aimed at creating a Middle East region free of nuclear arms. He was referring to the frequent US use of its veto power at the UN in favor of Israel, which is the sole nuclear armed regime in the region and has refused to join the NPT.
AFP and Press TV contributed to this story.