Politics

“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”

May 12, 2014
Reza HaghighatNejad
3 min read
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”
“Iran’s Missile Program Is Not up for Negotiation”

Ayatollah Khamenei struck out against President Rouhani’s negotiations with the P5+1 countries on Sunday, the latest in a string of recent challenges to the administration and its policies. 

Speaking to members of the Revolutionary Guards’ Aerospace Force, the Supreme Leader stated he had always supported negotiations as part of foreign policy. “But the problem of sanctions must be solved in some other way,” he said, referring to his belief that “economic resistance” was the best way of rebuilding Iran’s economy.

President Rouhani has stated that he aims to put an end to crippling economic sanctions through negotiations. Amid speculation that the Rouhani administration was willing to discuss Iran’s missile program as part of this, Khamenei said that curbing production was out of the question. The idea that Iran would alter its missile program while some of the P5+1 countriesFrance, Russia, China the United States, the United Kingdom, plus Germanystill posed a military threat was “foolish and silly.” 

The Rouhani administration denies rumors that negotiations over missile capability are being considered. But American officials, including Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, have hinted that Iran’s missile program poses enough of a threat to be included in negotiations. U.S. officials argue that, according to the UN Security Council Resolution 1929, passed in June 2010, Iran must “not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology.”

Khamenei has publicly promoted economic resistance for the last two years, advocating recovery through increased domestic production and austerity measures. He points to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as an example of Iran’s clear ability to achieve economic and institutional success. Any negotiations with the international community should not be tied to sanctions or economic stability, he has said.

In the past few months, hardliners have stepped up their opposition to the Rouhani administration’s foreign policy. IRGC officials have complained that the administration has failed to pursue their recommendations for economic resistance. Khamenei’s comments on Sunday were a clear acknowledgment of these criticisms and grievances.

An Exhibition of Power and Promise

Prior to Sunday’s speech, Khamenei visited an exhibition showcasing the latest achievements and work of the Aerospace Force. During the two-hour tour, he was shown what was claimed to be a reverse-engineered copy of a U.S. RQ-170 drone, allegedly captured by Revolutionary Guards in 2011.  Other displays included solid-fuel surface-to-surface missiles, anti-ship rockets and an air defense system.

The exhibition provided a perfect opportunity for Khamenei to reiterate his position on negotiations and Iran’s relationships with the West. “This exhibition sends a message of power,” Khamenei said, echoing President Obama’s famous “we can” campaign slogan. The exhibition, Khamenei said, made a statement to the world that Iran had the ability, expertise and knowledge to grow its industries and orchestrate Iran’s economic recovery.

Also on Sunday, President Rouhani sought to reassure the public that he had no plans to sell out to the West. He told a group of Iranian medical and nuclear experts that Iran would not surrender its right to nuclear development. In an apparent attempt to calm critics, he said all negotiations would be conducted in a “transparent” manner.

With nuclear negotiations set to resume on Tuesday, May 13th, Khamenei’s remarks are a clear reminder of just how difficult the road to a final agreement will be. And with Rouhani holding his ground, the relationship between his administration and hardliner politicians shows no signs of improvement. 

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