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Iran has right to self-defence: Analyst

The photo shows the launch of the Emad ballistic missile in Iran, October 11, 2015. © AFP


Press TV has conducted an interview with Nader Bagherzadeh, a California-based political analyst, to discuss a recent report saying that the US is considering fresh sanctions on international companies and individuals over Iran’s missile program. 

What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Iran already believes that the US has violated the nuclear agreement after limiting visa-free travel for any foreign nationals who visited Iran. Now a new set of sanctions; it looks like the United States is not giving up on its hostile attitude towards Iran, is it?

Bagherzadeh: So my concern is that if there was this position that the defensive measures of ballistic testing is okay, why wasn’t it discussed prior to the agreement? I think the both sides have to have reasonable understanding that the agreement in Vienna was about nuclear activities and nothing else. If there was something else involved, they should have really spelled it out clearly. As far as I remember, looking at the agreement a few weeks ago or months ago, it is not very clear how that is defined. So this talking past each other is of major concern at least to me, in particular since what you mentioned about the visa waiver which is really a let-down on the part of adding these additional sanctions for the people that are visiting Iran or have dual nationality.

Press TV: How do you think the United States is actually benefiting from these sanctions and finding ways to propagate fear and find enemies?

Bagherzadeh: My feeling is that Mr. Obama and the White House do not want this to be the case, but unfortunately they are in a position that they have to move forward because the US Congress probably wants it and that is of the concern that the executive power wants to do something where the legislative power to some extent is against it, being the Vienna agreement or perhaps even the issue of the missile test. I think the missile test issue came up few weeks ago and it was dampened down by the administration…now with the sanctions being pushed by the US Congress, probably there is the inside fighting going on between what the executive power wants to do with the Congressional power because it will derail to some extent the agreement given the visa waiver already started some of those concerns.

Press TV: Given that it is right of a country to increase its defense capabilities, can the United States actually stop Iran from doing that or ask for it to stop?

Bagherzadeh: They can ask; I am sure they can ask and they will ask. But when it comes to these defensive measures, it is every country’s right to protect themselves.

Given that Iran does not have any nuclear weapons, these missiles…you know they have to be used with conventional weapons and they do not have that much impact so to speak. So it would have been nice to have backdoor agreements on this so it does not become top news. Now, unfortunately, there would be probably reciprocation from the Iranian side and this does not look good in my opinion and there has to be a way to cool it down, perhaps the way Mr. Kerry wrote the letter to Dr. Zarif regarding the visa waiver, perhaps there have to be something like that to allay the concerns of the Iranian side because we are very, very close to the practical aspects of the agreement whereby the sanctions will be removed, at least for the nuclear-type sanctions. But then adding this other stuff will derail [the agreement] in my opinion to some extent.

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