Iran walks back comments on missile production

Iran walks back comments on missile production
© iStock

Iran is walking back any suggestion that its production of missiles could be on the negotiating table as a concession to the West.

In an interview that aired earlier this week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told NBC News that if the U.S. wanted to discuss his country's missiles it needs “first to stop selling all these weapons, including missiles, to our region.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

Zarif's remarks were seen as a possible opening to talks to limit Iran's production of missiles. 

But on Wednesday, the Iranian mission to the United Nations called Zarif's remark “hypothetical” and said missiles were “absolutely and under no condition negotiable with anyone or any country, period,” according to The Associated Press.

Zarif also appeared to be walking back the earlier comment, saying in a tweet that Iran's missiles were necessary for its defense.

"For 8 YEARS, Saddam showered our cities with missiles & bombs provided by East & West," he wrote, referring to former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. "Meanwhile, NO ONE sold Iran any means of defense."

"We had no choice but building our own. Now they complain," he added. "Instead of skirting the issue, US must end arms sales to Saddam's reincarnations."

 

The AP reported that Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi tweeted Tuesday saying that Zarif's original remarks were intended to challenge the U.S. and "threw the ball into the U.S. court while challenging America’s arm sales” to its allies in the Middle East.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have escalated in recent months. Iran said earlier this month that it would increase its uranium enrichment and stockpiles. A nuclear monitor confirmed earlier this month that Iran had surpassed enrichment levels agreed to in the deal.