Iran's Rouhani says missile programme off the table during nuclear talks

Iran's Rouhani says missile programme off the table during nuclear talks
The US wants the issue of Iran's controversial missile programme on the table during nuclear negotiations.
2 min read
14 December, 2020
Rouhani has said Iran's missile programme is off the table in nuclear talks [Getty]

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday his country's missile programme would not be up for negotiations if the US decides to hold talks with Tehran on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

Rouhani warned incoming President Joe Biden not to continue the efforts of outgoing US leader Donald Trump in linking Tehran's controversial missile programme to a new nuclear deal.

"The Americans were trying for months to add the missile issue and this was rejected. Trump was uninformed and did not know about the matter, but Mr. Biden is well aware of the details of the deal," Rouhani said in a televised conference, according to Reuters.

Biden has made it clear he wishes to bring the US into the 2015 nuclear deal, which Trump withdrew from in 2018.

There are stumbling blocks that might prevent a smooth re-alignment of the parties, including Iran’s development of ballistic missiles.

Some believe the US could make sanctions relief conditional on Iran restricting its ballistic missile programme and halt its regional interventions.

Iran has demanded Washington immediately end its sanctions and pay compensation before it agrees to talks.

"I have not heard Biden say that we have to reach another agreement in order to return to the nuclear deal, that is what Trump says," Rouhani added.

Iran's huge domestic missile programme is seen as a threat to many of the US' regional allies, including Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Iran was accused of being behind missile and armed drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities in 2019.

Iran struck at Iraqi bases hosting American soldiers in January using missiles, following the assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

Tehran sees its missile programme as a key part of its defences against foreign threats, including Israel, the US and Gulf states.

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