NATO chief concerned about Iran missile program

A Ghadr-H missile, center, a solid-fuel surface-to-surface Sejjil missile and a portrait of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are displayed at Baharestan Square in Tehran on Sept. 24, 2017. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Friday said the alliance had concerns about Tehran’s “continuous development of missile capabilities.” (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Updated 13 October 2017
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NATO chief concerned about Iran missile program

BRUSSELS: NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Friday refused to intervene in the row over the Iran nuclear deal, but said the alliance had concerns about Tehran’s “continuous development of missile capabilities.”
US President Donald Trump is set to “decertify” the landmark 2015 agreement which curtailed Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief, leaving lawmakers to decide whether to withdraw completely.
Stoltenberg refused to be drawn on whether he thought the deal was working, but stressed that compliance with its conditions was essential if it was to have any meaning.
“It is not for NATO to make assessments about compliance, that’s for nations that are part of the agreement and the IAEA to make that kind of assessment,” he told AFP in an interview.
And he reiterated NATO concerns about issues not covered in the deal, in particular Iran’s ballistic missile program.
“The nuclear deal covers the development of nuclear weapons but it doesn’t cover missile programs and we are concerned about the continuous development of missile capabilities of Iran,” he said.
Trump has derided the agreement as “the worst deal” and accused Tehran of not living up to the “spirit” of it, but UN inspectors say Iran is meeting the technical requirements of its side of the bargain. International allies, particularly the EU, have lobbied for it to stay, arguing that it is effective.
But last month Iran said it had successfully tested a new medium-range missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) capable of carrying multiple warheads, in defiance of warnings from Washington.
A decision by Trump to decertify the deal would leave it at grave risk, with the US Congress having 60 days to decide whether to re-impose specific sanctions on Tehran that were lifted because of the diplomatic pact.
It would risk unpicking 12 years of careful diplomacy between Iran and six world powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US — who crafted the deal.


Iran, US tension is a ‘clash of wills’: Guards commander

Updated 23 May 2019
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Iran, US tension is a ‘clash of wills’: Guards commander

  • The commander said they will have a “hard, crushing and obliterating response” for their enemies
  • Tensions between Iran and US escalated after Trump restored sanctions

GENEVA: The standoff between Iran and the United States is a “clash of wills,” a senior commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday, suggesting any enemy “adventurism” would meet a crushing response, Fars news agency reported.
Tensions have spiked between the two countries after Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East in a show of force against what US officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests in the region.
“The confrontation and face-off of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the malicious government of America is the arena for a clash of wills,” Iran’s armed forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri said.
He pointed to a battle during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war where Iran was victorious and said the outcome could be a message that Iran will have a “hard, crushing and obliterating response” for any enemy “adventurism.”
On Sunday, US President Donald Trump tweeted: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!“
Trump restored US sanctions on Iran last year and tightened them this month, ordering all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
Trump wants Iran to come to the negotiating table to reach a new deal with more curbs on its nuclear and missile programs.
Reiterating Iran’s stance, the spokesman for its Supreme National Security Council said on Thursday that “There will not be any negotiations between Iran and America.”
Keyvan Khosravi was also quoted as saying by the state broadcaster that some officials from several countries have visited Iran recently, “mostly representing the United States.”
He did not elaborate, but the foreign minister of Oman, which in the past helped pave the way for negotiations between Iran and the United States, visited Tehran on Monday.
“Without exception, the message of the power and resistance of the Iranian nation was conveyed to them,” he said.
In Berlin, a German diplomatic source told Reuters that Jens Ploetner, a political director in Germany’s Foreign Ministry, was in Tehran on Thursday for meetings with Iranian officials to try to preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and cool tensions in the region.