Iran: IRGC Warns against Negotiating on Ballistic Missile Program

Iran: IRGC Warns against Negotiating on Ballistic Missile Program

Thursday, 8 March, 2018 - 07:00
The head of the Guards’ aerospace division. Fars
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
The Revolutionary Guards have rejected Western diplomatic efforts to negotiate with Tehran over its ballistic missile program, in what was seen as an escalation by Iran.

Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guards’ aerospace division, said Wednesday that Iran has increased its missile production three-fold.

According to Fars news agency, the commander did not explain during what time period the production increase had taken place.

The government, parliament and other Iranian officials had, in particular, agreed on the need for ground-to-ground missiles, Hajizadeh said.

“In the past we had to do a lot of explaining to various bodies for our actions but it’s not like that anymore,” the agency quoted him as saying.

Hajizadeh criticized the stance of the United States, Arab countries, Britain and France from Iran’s missile program.

He also denied Western media reports that some earthquakes shaking several Iranian regions are the result of missile tests.

Also Wednesday, the deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami, criticized French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, stressing that Iran would not stop increasing its defensive power, including missile capabilities.

Iran's defensive power is "neither negotiable nor stoppable," he said, according to Fars.

Senior Iranian officials also told Le Drian, who visited Iran on Monday, that Tehran’s ballistic missile program was not up for negotiation.

His visit came in the midst of a scramble by European governments to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal after US President Donald Trump threatened he would abandon it unless tough new restrictions were placed on Iran before May 12.

Le Drian said Iran was risking fresh sanctions if it did not curb its missile program.

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