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US has no say on Iran's defense issues: Commander

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri

A senior commander of Iranian Armed Forces says the Islamic Republic will stick to its defense policies and plans, stressing that the United States has no right to make any decisions on Iran’s defense issues.

Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri made the remarks on Sunday in response to the recent remarks by US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley who urged the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to request access to Iranian military sites.

Jazayeri said such comments about visiting Iran’s military sites had no legal credibility and were in contradiction to the Islamic Republic’s security and the terms of the historic nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015.

He emphasized that the Islamic Republic of Iran and its Armed Forces would proceed with their defensive measures within the framework of pre-planned strategies and policies and would never be affected by threats and propaganda.

“If the US thinks that this agreement is of no value to it, it can make decision in any way it wants. But it certainly cannot make decisions on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s defense issues and the Americans are well aware of this issue,” Jazayeri pointed out.

He said while the US possessed the largest arsenal of atomic weapons, weapons of mass destruction and prohibited weapons in the world and was constantly enlarging its stockpile of such weapons, Iran had never sought to build nuclear weapons due to its adherence to religious principles.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China plus Germany - signed the JCPOA on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

Under the nuclear agreement, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran.

Speaking at a news conference in New York on August 25, Haley called on the IAEA to request access to Iranian military sites, in what is regarded as an attempt by Washington to undermine the JCPOA, which is a multilateral nuclear deal.

“We are encouraging the IAEA to use all the authorities they have and to pursue every angle possible with the JCPOA, and we will continue to support the IAEA in that process,” she said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also said on Saturday that Haley’s remarks showed her lack of familiarity with the contents of the JCPOA.

“What Ms. Haley has declared mostly show her ignorance of the text of the [nuclear] agreement in all fields, about which she expressed her opinion,” Zarif said.

He added that the JCPOA had been negotiated and written very precisely and had a complete framework with specified approaches in all fields.

Underlining the Islamic Republic’s stance, the Iranian foreign minister tweeted later in the day that the IAEA had certified Iran’s commitment to the nuclear agreement according to the provisions and conditions outlined in the deal, “not the ulterior motives of US officials, nor of lobbyists.” 

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