Iran warns US not to ‘create new tensions’ over missiles

Tehran , Jan 31: Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday warned the United States against “creating new tensions” with Tehran over ballistic missile tests.

“We hope that Iran’s defence programme is not used by the new US administration… as a pretext to create new tensions,” Zarif said in a televised press conference with visiting French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault.

The UN Security Council is due to hold emergency talks called by Washington on Tuesday on Iran’s recent test-firing of a medium-range missile, which Tehran has not confirmed.

Zarif said Washington — under former president Barack Obama — and Paris had “repeatedly confirmed” that Iran’s missiles are not part of a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers.

Iran says its missiles do not breach United Nations resolutions because they are for defence purposes and not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

“We have always declared that we will never use our weapons against others except in our defence,” Zarif said.

Ayrault said France had expressed its concerns over the missile tests.

“France has expressed its concern at Iran’s continuation of its ballistic missile tests on several occasions,” he said.

He said the continued tests are “contrary to the spirit” of the Security Council resolution which enshrined a landmark July 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, and “hamper the process of restoring the confidence established by the Vienna agreement.”

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