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Introduction — Jan 24, 2018

A handout photo from Iranian state TV showing a Zolfaqar missile launched against IS bases in Syria, July, 2017. Click to enlarge

Iran has reiterated its objection to any talks over its defence capabilities, particularly its missiles. Moreover, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian proposal that Tehran’s missile program be discussed when he visits in March has been roundly rejected by President Rouhani’s office.
Although this was only to be expected, the fact the French Foreign minister has even proposed discussions on Iran’s missiles suggests that the West is concerned about them. Not because they threaten Western Europe, of course, because Iran has deliberately limited its missile’s range to 2,000 kilometres.
That gives them range enough for any immediate threat to the country’s borders. It also encompasses Israel and major U.S. bases in the region such as in the gulf and Afghanistan. But significantly it also leaves Western Europe out-of-range for Iran’s missiles.
So why the concern over Iran’s missile program?
Well, for a start they are getting more accurate. Iran has also now developed missiles capable of carrying multiple, independently targeted warheads that are more difficult to detect. Put that together with increasingly sophisticated radars and the ability to set up and launch missiles more quickly and efficiently and Iran begins to look like an increasingly tough nut to crack.
The West had tried to foment internal dissent, first during the 2009 elections and more recently when Western-sponsored agents tried hijacking what were essentially economic protests. Attempt to turn them into “anti-government” demonstrations failed; as did Western backed attempts to oust Iran’s closest ally in the region, President Assad.
So the West is back to square one in its attempts to bring regime change to Tehran. That means that the possibility of using military muscle is back on the agenda. Only there is one problem: Iran’s missiles amount to a powerful deterrent. Far more than they did even just five years ago.
If the U.S. and or Saudi Arabia and Israel did launch a strike Iran would be retaliate quickly and powerfully. Delivering potentially devastating missile strikes on Saudi Arabia, Israel and U.S. military installations in Qatar, Kuwait, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Quite literally tens of thousands of U.S. service personnel would be at risk. Not to mention their Kuwaiti, Saudi, Qatari and Israeli allies. What’s more, even though they may play it down the U.S. and its allies are under no illusion about Iran’s military capability, particularly its missiles. They know the danger.
So before the U.S. and its allies can seriously consider the military option they first have to neutralise Iran’s missile capability. Which is where French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian comes in.
Understandably, Tehran has rejected Le Drian’s proposal even before he has formally raised it. They know what the ultimate intention is — regime change — and Tehran also knows how to prevent that: their missiles. Ed.

Iran Dismisses Missile Talks with France

Fars News Agency — Jan 24, 2018

French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian. Click to enlarge

French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian. Click to enlarge

Iranian President’s Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi reiterated his country’s firm opposition to talks with France and other foreign states about its missile and defense programs.

“We have said many times that whatever is related to our defense and missile power is not negotiable. We have not talked about it with anyone,” Vaezi told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.

Asked about media claims that French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s March visit to Tehran is aimed at holding talks with Iranian officials on its missile program, he said, “Certainly, we will not negotiate with any country about the defense power, including missiles.”

Vaezi described missile-related issues as an internal affair of Iran, and said, “We don’t negotiate with anyone to develop our power in all fields, including missile power.”

In relevant remarks on Tuesday, Iranian Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht rapped Le Drian for his recent remarks on the necessity of talks with Tehran on its missile program, stressing that the country never allows foreigners to meddle with its military capability.

“No one is allowed to meddle with our defense and missile issues. We consider defense and missile power as our inalienable right and we have not and will not hold talks with anyone on our defense issues,” Nobakht told reporters in his weekly press conference in Tehran.

He referred to Le Drian’s claims of talks with Iran on the latter’s missile program and said expression of views is completely different from negotiations that could bring up a deal like the 2015 nuclear agreement.

His comments came after Le Drian said that he will visit Iran on March 5 to discuss Tehran’s ballistic-missile program and the 2015 nuclear deal it signed with world powers.

“We have embarked upon a dialogue with Iran on the issue of ballistics and regional questions,” Le Drian told the Le Figaro daily in an interview to be published on January 22.

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