PHOTO: Deputy Chief of Staff Massoud Jazayeri “A Decisive Reaction to American Impudence”
The Iranian military has rebuked US Secretary of State John Kerry, saying that its missile program is “non-negotiable”.
Kerry told a Senate committee on Thursday that Washington and its allies are “prepared to work on a new arrangement to find a peaceful solution” to the issue of Iran’s ballistic missile testing, provided Tehran “makes it clear to everybody that they are prepared to cease these kinds of activities that raise questions about credibility…and intentions”.
But on Friday, the Deputy Chief of Staff, General Massoud Jazayeri declared:
We are stressing what has been said several times: [our] missile power has been non-negotiable and among the red lines of the Iranian nation. Iran does not get permission from anyone to develop its defense capabilities.
Jazayeri signaled to Iran’s Foreign Ministry that the “diplomatic establishment is expected to show a timely and decisive reaction to American impudence, especially by the US Secretary of State”.
The deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards, General Hossein Salami, echoed on Saturday, “Our missile capabilities will never be up for negotiations or compromise.”
The missile testing has been the catalyst for recent difficulties for the July 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the 5+1 Powers, which had been implemented in January. The US has imposed new sanctions on Iranian individuals and companies connected to the Revolutionary Guards, and Washington and European partners have said that they will take the matter to the UN Security Council.
Iran, which carried out two missile launches in early March, said that the tests do not violate a Security Council resolution because the missiles cannot carry nuclear warheads.
The Rouhani Government, which had hailed the January implementation as the victory of its foreign policy of engagement and the signal of economy recovery, is in domestic trouble over the deal. The Supreme Leader is leading criticism, saying that the US has not fulfilled the agreement through the return of Iranian assets and the lifting of sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s financial and banking sectors. He has been joined this week by the Revolutionary Guards, with commander Mohammad Ali Jafari making his first denunciation of the nuclear deal since November 2014.
Friday Prayer Leaders: US “Unfaithful” to Nuclear Deal
Friday Prayer leaders maintained the challenge, accusing the US of undermining the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
In Qom, Hojatoleslam Saidi said, “with the JCPOA issue, we are seeing that the nuclear deal still exists on paper, but the U.S. and the West are beginning to be unfaithful in practice.”
In Mashhad, Ayatollah Alamolhoda said of Washington:
They talked for two years and signed the JCPOA. Now they are not only failing to fulfill their commitments, but they have imposed greater sanctions as well. The relationship between America and Iran is like that between a wolf and an ewe. The wolf will never change from being a wolf.
The Tehran Friday Prayer leader, Ayatollah Kashani, also warned that the US “wants to find the Iranian nation’s weak spot and pressure the Iranian nation with it”. However, he focused on the Supreme Leader’s call for self-sufficiency in the “Resistance Economy”: “[Iran] needs to create jobs rather than giving money to the people in order to buy goods.”
Defense Minister: “US Should Leave Region”
And on yet another front, Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said the US should withdraw from the Middle East.
Dehghan told reporters on Saturday: “If they [US officials] really intend to create stability in the region, they should leave the region and stop supporting terrorists.”
Reacting to Kerry’s statement on Thursday about Iran’s “destabilizing actions”, Dehghan asserted, “If John Kerry thinks about these issues for a few minutes, he would no longer utter such nonsense and foolish words.”
The Minister also asserted that Kerry was “spewing nonsense” about Iran’s missile program.
(Hat tip to Iran Tracker for translations)
Zarif: “With Russia, We Can Defeat Extremism”
Speaking to Russian State outlet TASS, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has hailed an alliance forged by intervention in Syria’s conflict:
Iran and Russia are stronger together, we can in fact defeat extremism and contain extremism. We have made, with the sacrifice of the Syrian people, with the bravery of the Syrian Armed Forces, we have been able to defeat in many respects the advances of Daesh [the Islamic State] and al-Nusra.
Zarif said the rest of the world could learn from the Russian-Iranian example:
The international community will need to learn, particularly those who talk a lot, about fighting extremism, terrorism, need to learn that they need to be engaged, they need to be serious, they need to act rather than simply take political decisions in dealing with that.
(Cross-posted from Syria Daily)