Source: Tehran Times
TEHRAN - The Islamic Republic of Iran is the fourth missile power in the world, Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan says. "Iran has an acceptable status among countries possessing missile capabilities, and stands after the United States, Russia, and China [in missile power]," Dehqan said in a televised interview with Al-Alam channel on Friday.
Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan
The country is currently striving to boost the accuracy of the missiles and make them radar evading, he noted, adding that Iran has increased the range of its missiles "in proportion to possible threats against the country."
Iran has the ultimate say in its own missile and defense capabilities and no other entity will be able to impose its will on the country's decisions in the missile sector, Dehqan said.
Over the past years, Iran has made important breakthroughs in its defense sector, attained self-sufficiency in producing important military equipment and systems, and enhanced the preparedness of its forces by holding various drills.
Iran, however, has repeatedly assured other nations, especially regional neighbors, that its military might poses no threat to other countries, insisting that its defense doctrine is merely based on deterrence.
Iran's Shahab 3 missile
Iran's missile might not up for negotiation with 5+1 group: Dehqan
Dehqan further pointed to efforts by the United States and its allies to include the issue of Iran's missile capability in the nuclear talks between Tehran and the 5+1 group of world powers (the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany), saying the negotiations would only cover the nuclear issue.
"What we are discussing with the 5+1 group is merely the nuclear issue and no other topic has been put and will be put on the agenda," he said.
'Iraq's holy sites are Iran's redlines'
Elsewhere in his remarks, Dehqan pointed to the Iraqi Foreign minister's go-ahead to Iranian airstrikes on ISIL.
"Iran's redline is its national security. In Iraq, the Islamic Republic's redline is the holy sites. If ISIL militants or any other armed forces dared to pose any threat to these sites, Iran would definitely step in," he said.
"As long as ISIL does not infringe these redlines, Iran does not feel the need to conduct any counter militancy attacks. However, if the Iraqi government officially appeals for our help, we will definitely aid them," he added.
"ISIL is not a local movement; rather, it is supported and reinforced by Israel and the United States," he said, while asserting that some regional countries have wrongly assumed that by strengthening ISIL they could restrict Iran's influence in the region.
"ISIL made no reaction to Israel's 50-day long military offensive against the blockaded Gaza Strip [in August], and this proves that whatever is going on in the region is what Israel and the U.S. had planned, and all the Tel Aviv regime conducts are aimed at weakening the resistance front," Dehqan added.
"We have not stationed any Iranian troops in Syria or Iraq. The people that we have dispatched there are for the sole purpose of giving consultations and trainings," Dehqan said in response to a question on the presence of Iranian security forces in Iraq.
Dehghan also pointed to the U.S. and Israel's direct threats on targeting Iran's nuclear facilities in the past years. "These threats could always be levied on Iran, but what matters is that we are constantly fully-prepared against them and we are certain that neither the United States nor Israel will ever dare wage war on us," he concluded.
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