Iran says missile program defensive after US allegation

REUTERS
DUBAI
Published

Iran said yesterday its missile program is defensive and not in breach of U.N. resolutions, the state news agency IRNA said, following a U.S. allegation that Tehran had carried out a new missile test.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday condemned what he described as Iran's testing of a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads as a violation of the 2015 international agreement on the Iranian nuclear program.

"Iran's missile program is defensive in nature... There is no Security Council resolution prohibiting the missile program and missile tests by Iran," IRNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying in response to Pompeo's remarks. Qasemi did not confirm or deny that Iran had carried out a new missile test.

Under the U.N. resolution enshrining the 2015 nuclear deal with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, Iran is "called upon" to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Iran has repeatedly said its missile program is purely defensive and denied its missiles are capable of being tipped with nuclear warheads.

Qasemi, addressing Pompeo, said: "It is...ironic that you cite a resolution that you have not only breached through your unilateral and unlawful withdrawal from the [nuclear] accord but that you also encourage others to breach or even threaten to punish and sanction them if they carry it [accord] out."

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