Introduction — March 30, 2016
No matter how Western commentators may frame this, the Ayatollah Khamenei is only reaffirming his commitment to maintaining Iran’s ability to defend itself.
And why not: Iran has not launched a war of aggression at any time since World War II. Unlike Israel or the U.S.
Khamenei’s reaffirmation comes in response to mounting Western pressure to contain the Islamic Republic’s military power. Because Iran is not another Iraq, in terms of military power it is far more capable and becoming all the more so.
Since testing the Emad missile last October pressure has mounted to impose sanctions on Iran’s missile program. The sanctions real objective is to undermine Iran’s ability to defend itself; because its indigenously developed weapons, particularly its missiles and radars, are now reaching levels of sophistication and accuracy that would cause real problems for any potential aggressor.
The U.S. and its allies know this, hence the renewed push for fresh sanctions. Claims that they are to prevent Iran delivering nuclear weapons are just a ruse. Just as the claims about Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction were a ploy to pave the way for the Iraq invasion.
Since then the U.S. and its allies have used more underhand methods: first in Libya and now more recently in Syria and Iraq. Where Sunni militants and criminal elements were covertly armed and assisted in attempts to bring about regime change.
However, Russia’s recent intervention in Syria has changed that. Putin, Iran and Hezbollah have decisively turned the tide. Hence the West is now trying a new tactic to neutralise those that might effectively oppose its plans to reshape the Middle East.
Part of that involves moves to disarm, or at least contain, Iran’s growing military ability. Ed.
Khamenei says missiles, not just talks, key to Iran’s future
Bozorgmehr Sharafedin — Reuters March 30, 2016
Iran’s top leader on Wednesday said missiles were key to the Islamic Republic’s future, offering support to the hardline Revolutionary Guards that have drawn criticism from the West for testing ballistic missiles.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei supported last year’s nuclear deal with world powers but has since called for Iran to avoid further rapprochement with the United States and its allies, and maintain its economic and military strength.
“Those who say the future is in negotiations, not in missiles, are either ignorant or traitors,” Khamenei, who has the final say on all matters of state, was quoted as saying by his website.
“If the Islamic Republic seeks negotiations but has no defensive power, it would have to back down against threats from any weak country.”
His comments may have been directed at former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the de facto leader of a more moderate political alliance, who last week tweeted “the future is in dialogue, not missiles”.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards conducted ballistic missile tests earlier this month, in what they said was a demonstration of Iran’s non-nuclear deterrent power.
The United States and several European powers said the tests defied a U.N. Security Council Resolution that calls on Iran not to test nuclear-capable missiles, in a joint letter seen by Reuters on Tuesday.
However, Washington has said that a fresh missile test would not violate a July 2015 accord under which Iran has restricted its disputed nuclear program and won relief from U.N. and Western financial sanctions in return. That agreement between Iran and six world powers was endorsed in Resolution 2231.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that Iran’s ballistic missile had caused “alarm” and it would be up to the major powers in Security Council to decide whether fresh sanctions should be applied.
But Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, said the tests did not violate Resolution 2231.
“You may like it or not that Iran launches ballistic missiles – but that is a different story. The truth is that in the 2231 resolution there are no such bans,” Interfax cited Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the ministry’s department for non-proliferation and arms control, as saying.
Iran has consistently denied its missiles are designed to carry nuclear weapons.
(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, additional reporting by Lidia Kelly in Moscow and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Writing by Sam Wilkin; Editing by Richard Balmforth)