Iran says UN can’t ban ballistic missiles under nuke deal

After Security Council endorses pact, Tehran claims prohibition on missile development not relevant to world body, adds atomic watchdog won’t want to inspect military sites

Illustrative: A Fateh-110 ballistic missile, displayed at an Iranian armed forces parade in 2012. ( Commons)
Illustrative: A Fateh-110 ballistic missile, displayed at an Iranian armed forces parade in 2012. ( Commons)

Iran said its ballistic missile program was not connected to the UN Security Council resolution adopted Monday, which endorses its July 14 nuclear accord with world powers.

A statement from the Iranian Foreign Ministry also said that it was “certain” the International Atomic Energy Agency will not request to inspect its military sites.

Under the terms of the nuclear deal, Iran is barred from developing ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

Iran says it has built ballistic missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles), capable of striking its arch-foe Israel.

But the Foreign Ministry said the UN’s resolution endorsing the deal did not have jurisdiction over its missile development.

“Iran’s military capacities, especially ballistic missiles, are strictly defensive and, as they have not been conceived to carry nuclear weapons, they are outside the scope and competence of the Security Council resolution,” the ministry wrote in a statement.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is committed to implementing its commitments… so long as world powers keep their side of the agreement to lift sanctions in exchange for guarantees that Tehran will not develop a nuclear program,” the statement went on.

It said Iran would, in any case, never seek a nuclear bomb, “in line with the historic fatwa [religious decree] of supreme guide Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has banned the use of weapons of mass destruction.”

Referring to the intrusive inspections permitted under the accord, the ministry claimed the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, would have no reason to request inspections.

“Since there has never been nuclear activity at any military site, Iran is certain there will not be any request to inspect such sites,” the statement read.

In New York, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2231, endorsing the deal on Iran’s nuclear program.

The passing of the resolution marks formal UN approval for the groundbreaking agreement reached between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group.

Provided Iran respects the agreement to the letter, seven UN resolutions — passed since 2006 to sanction Iran — will be gradually terminated, the text of the resolution says.

The agreement with Tehran was reached last Tuesday in Vienna by the UN council’s five permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany.

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