Iranian Fears of Internal Differences Over Missile Negotiations

Iranian Fears of Internal Differences Over Missile Negotiations

Wednesday, 7 March, 2018 - 14:00
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif greets his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Tehran on March 5, 2018. Reuters
London- Adil al Salmi
The spokesperson for the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Hossein Naghavi Hosseini warned on Tuesday parties interested in starting Iranian-Western negotiations on the ballistic missile program from deepening differences among political parties.

Hosseini pointed fingers at the US administration for seeking to provoke internal differences to force his country to sit at the negotiating table and discuss ballistic missiles.

This came following a French move in Tehran, where French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had held talks with senior officials that included the ballistic missile program and Iran's regional role.

"There is still a lot to be done with Iran regarding ballistic missiles and their activities in the region," Le Drian said upon leaving Tehran.

However, top Senior Adviser to Iran’s Leader Ali Akbar Velayati downplayed the importance of the French move and said his country would "not be subject to defensive restrictions even if the United States wants to impose it."

Velayati said on Tuesday “the French foreign minister visited Tehran upon an invitation from his Iranian counterpart.”

“Iranian officials must have explained for him the Islamic Republic of Iran’s viewpoints, and he must have realized that he would not achieve anything against Iranians’ interests.”

“We do not know in which language and tone we say that we do not want to negotiate the missile program and defense capabilities," Hosseini said in response to the French insistence.

“The parliament does not allow anyone to negotiate at any level about missile and defense capabilities as it set the framework of the nuclear negotiations, and on this basis will not allow the renewal of negotiations on the nuclear agreement,” Hosseini added.

In a statement for Fars News Agency, Hosseini denied news about differences among political parties on the Iranian ballistic missile program.

He stressed that all Iranian parties agree on the continuation of missile capabilities, noting that “some disagreements among the political groups do not prevent defending the national interests; and the defense and missile capabilities is one of them."

The Iranian official accused the US administration and its allies of seeking to derail the nuclear deal by provoking internal differences in his country.

"They think that these methods can open the door to negotiations on other issues after the nuclear agreement. They have to know that political groups are united and refuse excessive demands from enemies,” Hosseini stressed.

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