Disagreement over Missiles Continues in Iranian Nuclear Talks

Radiation Warning Symbol. Public Domain.

Radiation Warning Symbol. Public Domain.

Even if 98 percent of a deal between the world powers and Iran is reached, the last two percent may “make all the rest of it not work,” a Senior US official said Tuesday. And with Iran and the US disagreeing over whether or not Iran’s missile program is even up for discussion, it looks like more than two percent of a deal is going to be very difficult to resolve with just over two months remaining in the original timeframe for talks.

The US official, in comments released by the State Department, continued to insist that Iran’s missile program—which is addressed by United Nations resolutions and could become a threat to carry nuclear warheads to Israel, Europe and beyond—remains on the table. But Iran hinted that they absolutely oppose such talks.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif, in comments published by Press TV, was very insistent that some things would never be discussed with the world powers.

“I assure [you] that the defense capabilities and systems of the Islamic Republic of Iran have never been a topic of our discussions, and will never be in the future,” Press TV quoted Zarif as saying after a round of talks on Tuesday.

Iran considers itself to be a non-aggressive country—which is ironic due to its expansive support for terrorism and military assistance to the Syrian regime—and so its “defensive capabilities” could be a euphemism for its missile program. Iran has repeatedly refused to discuss its missile program in the past.

However, some room for American compromise may still remain. The US official, during his background briefing, implied that not all of Iran’s missile program could be in scope for the talks, but just that which involves nuclear weapons.

“I would note that the UN Security Council resolutions must be addressed. That’s in the Joint Plan of Action [with Iran],” said the official. “Those resolutions, among many other things, do say that any missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon must be dealt with.”

The sides have until July 20 to decide what meets that definition and how to resolve it.

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, May 14, 2014)

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