Iran has clarified a remark made by its foreign minister, stating that the US ending weapon sales to the Middle East would be a purely hypothetical scenario in which Iran might consider negotiations over its missile program.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif suggested during an interview with NBC that if the US was interested in discussing the Islamic Republic’s missile program, “they need first to stop selling all these weapons, including missiles, to our region.”
Zarif argued in a tweet on Wednesday that Tehran was forced to develop its own missile program after the Islamic Republic was “showered” with foreign-made missiles during the Iran-Iraq war.
“We had no choice but building our own. Now they complain. Instead of skirting the issue, the US must end arms sales to Saddam’s reincarnations,” the Iranian diplomat wrote.
His remarks to NBC interpreted by some as a policy shift, given that Tehran has repeatedly rejected negotiations over its missile program.
Iran’s mission to the United Nations appeared to dismiss this idea in a follow-up statement, describing Zarif’s comments as purely “hypothetical.”
Also downplaying the comments, foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi tweeted on Tuesday night that Zarif had “[thrown] the ball into the US court while challenging America’s arm sales” to its Middle East allies.