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Iran says Europe in no position to criticize its military capabilities

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif Speaks to the Media P5+1 Talks With Iran in Geneva, Switzerland. November 24, 2013. (Eric Bridiers/U.S. Mission Geneva)
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This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Ahead of a trip to Tehran by Germany’s foreign minister, Iran’s top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, told European countries not to criticize the Islamic republic for seeking to bolster its military capabilities.

“Europeans are not in a position to criticize” Iran for issues outside the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, Iran’s foreign minister was quoted by state media as saying on June 9.

Zarif’s comment comes as German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is planning to visit Iran to explore options for preserving a nuclear nonproliferation pact.

The West European signatories to the deal — France, Britain, and Germany — have been trying to salvage the agreement despite the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the accord last year.

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U.S. President Donald Trump argued that the terms of the accord were not tough enough to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and did not address the country’s ballistic-missile program or its role in conflicts around the Middle East. He reimposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran.

The European signatories of the deal share the same concerns as the United States over Iran’s ballistic-missile development and regional activities.

On June 9, Iran unveiled what it described as a new “domestically produced” air-defense system with the capability of following six targets — including fighter jets, bombers, and drones — at the same time and destroy them with missiles.

During the unveiling ceremony for the system, Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami said that “Iran will increase its military capabilities to protect its national security and interests, and it will not ask permission from anyone on this matter.”

Zarif was quoted as saying that he wanted to hear from Maas how Germany will help the normalization of Iran’s economic relations when they meet on June 10.

“In the case of the nuclear deal, results matter,” Zarif said, adding he wanted to know “what exactly the partners have achieved to rescue it.”

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