Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday reiterated his country's firm opposition to any kind of talks with world powers on its missile program.
"Certainly, it is vital for us to have the best tools so that criminals like Saddam cannot launch missile attacks against our cities while we didn’t have any possibility to defend our citizens (during the Iraqi-imposed war against Iran in 1980s). Certainly, Iran's missile program is crucially important and is not negotiable," Zarif said, according to the Fars news agency.
He also blasted those who criticize Iran's missile program for ignoring the fact that Saudi Arabia is armed with modern fighter jets and missiles with a range of 2,500 km with the capability of targeting other continents and carrying nuclear warheads.
The Islamic Republic has several times test-fired ballistic missiles in recent months, raising the ire of the West. This is in addition to the country’s nuclear program which is of great concern as well.
Western countries say the tests are a violation of the UN resolution enshrining the 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and the six world powers. Iran denies it is in violation of any UN resolutions and says its missile program is peaceful.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blasted world powers which oppose Iran's missile power, and stressed once again that Tehran would not allow others to intrude in its missile and defense programs.
"This issue is none of your (enemies') business. You (the enemies) want the Iranian nation not to have missiles and other defensive possibilities so that you bully it," Khamenei said in Tehran, according to Fars.
"Of course, we have placed a religious ban on things like nuclear bombs and WMDs but we powerfully pursue any (other) thing that we need," Khamenei added.