Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has defended Iran’s right to carry out missile tests, saying none of Iranian missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
“It’s our legitimate defense. These are not missiles that are designed to be capable of carrying nuclear warheads and, therefore, it is within our right to self-defense,” Zarif told The New Yorker in an interview published on Friday.
Iran successfully test-fired its precision-guided long-range Emad missile on October 11 but it sparked an uproar among US politicians who accused Iran of violating a nuclear accord.
In a letter to President Barack Obama on Thursday, a number of Republican senators called on the government not to lift sanctions against Iran as required by the July nuclear agreement.
“It is a mistake to treat Iran’s ballistic missile program as separate from Iran’s nuclear program,” the 35 senators wrote.
Zarif dismissed any negotiations on Iran’s defensive missile program.
“Your allies are spending tens of billions of dollars on buying weaponry that they don’t need in this region. Iran’s military hardware is less than a fraction of that of any of the countries in this region,” he told the New Yorker.