Iran Dismisses US Talk of ‘Arrangement’ on Missiles

Associated Press — April 10, 2016

Iran has dismissed US Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent talk of a “new arrangement” involving Tehran’s ballistic missiles, calling the idea “nonsense.”

Kerry said during a visit to the Gulf earlier this week that the US and its allies were “prepared to work on a new arrangement to find a peaceful solution” to the dispute over recent Iranian missile tests.

But on Saturday Iranian state TV quoted Defense Minister Gen. Hossein Dehghan as saying Kerry should instead focus on problems raised by the presence of US forces in the region and past military interventions.

Kerry played a key role in the negotiations between Iran and world powers that led to last year’s landmark nuclear agreement.

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Commentary — April 10, 2016

Iran’s Defense Minister wasn’t alone in rejecting John Kerry’s claim. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif has also dismissed the U.S. secretary of state’s claim.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Zarif said that if the U.S. wanted to restore calm to the Middle East it should stop sending arms to its two biggest allies in the region, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
If the U.S. was serious about peace in the Middle East, Zarif continued, “Mr. Kerry should ask U.S. allies where the Islamic State’s arms come from.”

Iran’s foreign minister is saying the country’s missile program is not up for negotiation with the United States

AP — April 10, 2016

Iran’s foreign minister said Sunday the country’s missile program is not up for negotiation with the United States.

The missile program and “defense capabilities of the Islamic Republic of Iran are not negotiable,” said Mohammad Javad Zarif after meeting with his Estonian counterpart, Marina Kaljurand.

He added that if Washington was serious about defensive issues in the Middle East, it should stop supplying arms to Saudi Arabia and Israel.

A Saudi-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes and battling the Iran-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen since March 2015. Iran also supports anti-Israeli militant groups.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday the U.S. and its partners were telling Iran that they were “prepared to work on a new arrangement to find a peaceful solution to these issues.” He said Iran first had to make it clear to all involved that they were prepared to cease provocative ballistic missile launches and tests.

Zarif on Sunday also hinted that regional U.S. allies are among those quietly supporting the extremist Islamic State group.

“The U.S. needs to view regional issues more seriously than raise baseless and threadbare allegations against Iran,” said Zarif. “Mr. Kerry should ask U.S. allies where the Islamic State’s arms come from.”

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