Diplomacy

Claiming Its Missiles are Defensive, Iran Threatens to Increase Their Range to Target Europe

If the European Union insists on negotiating limits on Iran’s missile development program, Iran “may drop this limitation to the range” of the missiles, which Tehran claims are defensive, a top Iranian general told the semi-official Fars News Agency on Sunday.

Hossein Salami, the lieutenant commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), made his comments in response to the insistence of newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron, earlier this month, that the international community needs to negotiate limits on Iran’s missile development program.

“We tell the European countries that if we have confined the range of our missiles to 2,000km until today and have not increased it any further, it is not because of a lack of technology because we have no limitations for the range of our missiles in technological terms. But as all our actions derive from a strategic logic, our missiles’ range is limited to the regions of threat,” Salami said.

“If the Europeans want to enter the sanctum of our missiles, we may drop this limitation to the range (of our missiles),” Salami added making the threat to Europe more explicit. “But if Europe wants to turn into a threat, the range of our missiles will increase. We respect them. They should respect us too.”

Despite Salami’s threats against Europe, Fars noted, “Iran has repeatedly said its missile program is defensive and not negotiable.”

Although language in United Nations Security Council resolution 2231—the resolution that formalized the nuclear deal—“calls on” Iran not to develop ballistic missiles, Iran has continued to do so.

IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari mocked Macron for demanding limits on Iran’s missile program attributing the demand to “his youngness and naivety.” Last month, in a similar vein, the IRGC called President Donald Trump “featherbrained,” for demanding limits on Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Earlier this month Richard Goldberg and Behnham Ben Taleblu explained how Iran’s ballistic missile program is clearly offensive not defensive, and how the missiles being developed could be used to carry nuclear weapons.

[Photo: ali javid / YouTube]