The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson has dismissed recent comments by the United States Vice President Mike Pence that the Islamic Republic seeks to obtain nuclear weapons.
Speaking at the annual conference of a pro-Israeli lobbying group known as AIPAC on Sunday, Pence “solemnly promised” to the attendees — often American and Israeli business tycoons spending lavishly on the political careers of US politicians in return for favors — that the US would “not allow” Iran to develop an atomic bomb.
On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Bahram Qassemi dismissed the comments, citing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear agency of the United Nations (UN), which has been given unprecedented access to the Iranian nuclear facilities as part of a 2015 multilateral deal.
“The Islamic Republic’s nuclear program has been entirely transparent and all of the reports by the... Agency stress the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities,” Qassemi said.
The IAEA has been tasked with monitoring the technical aspects of the 2015 deal and has repeatedly verified the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program in its periodical reports on the matter.
Qassemi said the US’s “unflinching support for the Zionist regime (Israel)’s military nuclear activities” had on the other hand led to the proliferation in Israel of hundreds of nuclear warheads and instability in the region and the world.
The Israeli regime is commonly believed to possess between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads in a largely clandestine military nuclear program.
In his speech at the AIPAC event, Pence also referred to the Iranian missile program. “They’ve gone to great lengths to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles,” he said.
Qassemi said the Iranian defense program, including the missile development activities, were “purely... deterrent and targeted against no other country.”
“And to boost the indigenous defensive strength of our country and to defend it, we neither accept advice from anyone nor do we allow their interference,” he said.
- 'US, Israel pose greatest threat to Mideast'
- Trump bent on moving Israel embassy: Pence
- Netanyahu thanks Trump for supporting Israel
The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman also implicitly referred to the Saudi-led war on Yemen, which enjoys political and logistical US support, and said such activities have aggravated insecurity in the region. “As long as such policies persist, the region and the world will not see peace.”
US admits reimposing Iran sanctions ‘very hard’
Also speaking at the AIPAC conference was US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who made an attempt of her own at appeasing the attendees by attacking Iran.
But she did slip in an assertion that was likely not music to the ears of the AIPAC delegates, as expected according to protocol. She said an oft-touted US claim that “snapping back” sanctions on Iran — removed as part of the 2015 deal — would be easy was actually wrong.
“You can put sanctions on a country... To take sanctions away, it’s very hard to go back and put sanctions back on,” she said as silence gripped the crowd, which had until then been routinely giving her ovations.
“My concern is you’re seeing a lot of love for the Iran deal in the Security Council,” she said, calling it “unfortunate.”