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August 20, 2018 11:32 am

Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program ‘Non-Negotiable,’ Top Tehran Regime Official Reiterates

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A display featuring missiles and a portrait of Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Sept. 27, 2017. Photo: Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi / TIMA via Reuters.

Iran’s ballistic missile program is “non-negotiable,” a top Tehran regime official reiterated on Monday.

Referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has called for talks with the Islamic Republic on the ballistic missile issue, Bahram Qassemi — spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry — said, according to the semi-official state news agency Fars, “She and her advisers should be aware that the nuclear deal and Iran’s missile program are two separate issues and are not related.”

In his remarks to reporters in the Iranian capital, Qassemi also urged European powers to speed up efforts to salvage the July 2015 nuclear deal that the US pulled out of in May.

“Europeans and other signatories of the deal have been trying to save the deal … but the process has been slow,” he said. “It should be accelerated.”

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Earlier this month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order reimposing a number of US economic sanctions on Iran that had been lifted as a result of the nuclear agreement — also known as the JCPOA — that Iran reached with six world powers three years ago.

Another set of sanctions — including ones targeting Iran’s lucrative energy sector — will be put back in place in November.

As he signed the executive order, Trump described the JCPOA as “horrible” and “one-sided,” noting that it had “failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb, and it threw a lifeline of cash to a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence, and chaos.”

“Since the deal was reached, Iran’s aggression has only increased,” the president added. “The regime has used the windfall of newly accessible funds it received under the JCPOA to build nuclear-capable missiles, fund terrorism, and fuel conflict across the Middle East and beyond.”

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