The Iranian Foreign Ministry has lambasted the United Kingdom for a "meddlesome statement” issued by the Foreign Office on Iran’s defensive capabilities, stressing that Tehran acts within international laws and regulations and in accordance with the Islamic Republic’s defense needs.
“The nuclear program of the Islamic Republic of Iran is completely peaceful, as evidenced by thousands of hours of inspections and numerous reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and Iran has not designed its missiles for nuclear purposes since it did not have and does not have any plans to use nuclear energy militarily,” Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement on Friday.
“The British know better than anyone else that Iran's missile program has nothing to do with UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and its provisions,” he added, stressing that it is the UK that practically violates the provisions of the said resolution through “arbitrary interpretation.”
The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)’s five-day massive drills, dubbed Great Prophet 17, ended on Friday. The maneuvers were held in the Persian Gulf region, the Strait of Hormuz, as well as the coastal areas of the southern province of Hormuzgan, Bushehr, and Khuzestan. The exercises were part of major military drills Iran holds regularly to improve its combat readiness.
The large-scale military exercises intended to showcase the maneuverability of solid-fuel missiles to cross enemy shields and to improve the combat readiness of the IRGC forces.
Earlier on Friday, the British Foreign Office criticized the drills and firing ballistic missiles in a statement, saying “These actions are a threat to regional and international security and we call on Iran to immediately cease its activities.”
Khatibzadeh condemned the Foreign Office statement as interference in Iran’s domestic affairs, stressing that it is a vivid example of the continuation of London’s double-standard policy.
He said the UK expresses concern about Iran’s usual military drills amid an endless race among Britain and European countries for selling the most destructive weapons to West Asia and other crisis-hit regions, and while London signs military pacts such as AUKUS without paying heed to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Khatibzadeh also denounced the British officials’ efforts to accuse Iran of being a threat to the region, stressing that what has fueled instability and insecurity in the region, including the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, is the "insatiable appetite" of Britain and other European countries to sell large quantities of advanced weapons to some specific countries in the region, while knowing very well that using such armaments is in violation of international law, particularly humanitarian law.
“Therefore, it is them who must be held accountable before the oppressed people of the region and the international community for the upsurge in instability and insecurity in the region,” the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry further said.
In conclusion, Khatibzadeh stressed that the Islamic Republic of Iran's defense program is non-negotiable and the country does not require others' permission to develop its defensive capabilities.
Iranian military experts and technicians have in recent years made great progress in developing and manufacturing a broad range of domestically-manufactured equipment, making the armed forces self-sufficient in this regard.
Iranian officials have repeatedly underscored that the Islamic Republic will not hesitate to build up its defense capabilities, emphasizing such abilities are entirely meant for the purpose of defense and will be never subject to negotiations.