No country has the right to speak or comment on the Islamic Republic’s defense capabilities, says Iran’s deputy foreign minister, amid the imposition of a new round of US sanctions on Tehran targeting the country’s drone program.
“Iran’s defense capability is a matter of national decision that is intertwined with its national interests and security; therefore, no country has the right to speak or comment on this,” Ali Baqeri-Kani told the Newsmaker program of Russia Today’s Arabic service in an interview published on Friday.
Baqeri-Kani said the same is the case for other countries as well.
“Each country’s defense capability is [only] that country’s business, and each country acts in accordance with its national interests and within the framework of its capabilities to ensure its security and gain adequate deterrent power,” he said.
“No other country has the right to talk about the capabilities and the things (military equipment) that another country possesses to defend its national interests,” he stressed.
On Friday, the US Treasury Department targeted four individuals and two entities with fresh sanctions, saying they were involved in promoting the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) programs of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and its Quds Force.
Tehran censured the “quite contradictory behavior” of the administration of Joe Biden, which comes in the midst of negotiations to compel Washington to abandon the [Donald] Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, sayngi the White House “is sending the message that is not trustworthy at all.”
‘Israelis cannot dream of attacking Iran’
Baqeri-Kani further said Iran’s military and defense doctrine is built on possessing merely conventional weapons, making a reference to a fatwa (religious decree) issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei against the acquisition, development, and use of nuclear weapons.
Asked about Israel’s claim that Iran is on the verge of making nuclear weapons, the senior Iranian diplomat flatly rejected the allegation, which he said is not the first time the regime makes against the Islamic Republic to achieve its goals.
He reasoned that Israel is not qualified to speak about such issues since the regime itself possesses nuclear weapons in the volatile West Asian region.
“The accusations are completely false and baseless,” he asserted. “We emphasize that it is the Israelis who stand accused here, and therefore, they cannot level accusations and make complaints in this regard,” he added.
On a question whether Iran is able to respond to an Israeli attack, he said Israel does not even dare dream of attacking Iran.
“Even if it does, it won’t wake up from that dream,” he added.
‘Progress in talks bound on finalizing sanctions removal decision’
During the interview, Baqeri-Kani also said Iran only pursues the objective of removing the unlawful and cruel US sanctions through the negotiations in the Austrian capital, Vienna.
“We would make practical progress in future negotiations only if a decision to remove those sanctions is finally accepted” by the other parties to the Vienna talks, he said.
He maintained that a strong will to remove the anti-Iran sanctions is needed on the other side of the negotiating table.
On Wednesday, Baqeri-Kani announced that the negotiations to remove Iran sanctions will resume before the end of November.
There has been mounting pressure on Tehran to return to the negotiating table in recent weeks.
Back in April, Iran and the remaining parties to the 2015 landmark nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), began negotiations to restore the agreement. The talks were paused in late June, after Iran’s presidential election.
“The main issue is not when the negotiations would take place, but rather, what the other side is offering in order to remove the sanctions,” the lead Iranian negotiator added.
Former US President Donald Trump left the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the deal had lifted.
He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign.