Negotiations over Iran's defense a "red line" in nuclear talks, official says
A senior Iranian lawmaker has rejected U.S. claims that Iran’s defense capabilities would be part of the nuclear negotiations, saying the nation’s missile program is not a threat to the region.
“Negotiations on the country (Iran)’s defense capabilities in the upcoming talks between Iran and the 5+1 group is our red line,” said Ismail Kowsari, who chairs the Defense Committee of Iran’s Majlis.
He said Tehran’s potential can never be the subject of talks between Iran and the Sextet of world powers -- Russia, China, Germany, France, Britain and the United States - and added American authorities every now and then try to portray our missile testing as a threat to the region.
He then pointed to the U.S.’ development and testing of nuclear-capable missiles and their own background of being the only country in the world to have used nuclear weapons and called on Iranian nuclear negotiators to be vigilant and react firmly against discussing Iranian defensive power.
According to a Reuters report, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs and the lead negotiator in the Geneva nuclear talks with Iran Wendy Sherman told a Senate hearing last week that Iran’s ballistic missile program would be addressed as part of a comprehensive nuclear deal.
Iran’s deputy foreign minister and top nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi, however, said on Sunday that Tehran had no intention of discussing its ballistic missile program with major powers.
“The subject of the talks with the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) is only the nuclear issue, and we will not discuss any other issues,” he said, adding that the country’s defense issues “are not negotiable and are our red line.”