Iran says it will continue ballistic missile programme

Reuters Dubai Dec 05, 2019, 11.04 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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'Iran is determined to resolutely continue its activities related to ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles,' Iran's U.N. envoy Majid Takhte Ravanchi wrote in the letter.

Iran said in a letter to the United Nations on Thursday that it is determined to go ahead with its disputed ballistic missile programme, according to a copy of the letter tweeted by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

"Iran is determined to resolutely continue its activities related to ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles," Iran's U.N. envoy Majid Takhte Ravanchi wrote in the letter.

Iran said on Thursday a letter from three European powers to the U.N. Security Council accusing Tehran of having nuclear-capable ballistic missiles showed their "miserable incompetence" in fulfilling their commitments to a 2015 nuclear deal.

"Latest E3 letter to UNSG on missiles is a desperate falsehood to cover up their miserable incompetence in fulfilling bare minimum of their own #JCPOA obligations," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted, referring to the deal by its formal acronym. He urged Britain, France and Germany not to bow to "US bullying".

The British, German and French ambassadors, in a letter circulated on Wednesday, called on U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to inform the Security Council in his next report that Iran’s missile programme was “inconsistent” with a U.N. resolution that had endorsed the nuclear deal reached between Iran and six world powers.

The letter surfaced at a time of heightened friction between Iran and the West, with Tehran rolling back its commitments under the deal step by step in response to Washington’s pullout from the pact last year and reimposition of sanctions on Iran that has crippled its economy.

Britain, France and Germany have sought to salvage the pact, under which Iran undertook to curtail its disputed uranium enrichment programme in return for relief from sanctions. But Tehran has criticised the three European powers for failing to shield Iran's economy from the US penalties.

The United States, Iran's arch-foe, and its Arab allies view Tehran’s ballistic missile programme as a Middle East security threat. Tehran says its missile development activity is solely defensive in nature.