Iran no plans to increase missile range nor talk to Trump

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Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in Tehran September 14, 2007. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

LONDON (Reuters) – Iran has no plans to extend the range of its missiles since their 2,000-km (1,240-mile) reach is enough to protect the country, the Revolutionary Guards commander said amid mounting US pressure over Tehran’s missile programme.

Iran’s government again ruled out negotiations with US President Donald Trump over Tehran’s military capabilities and regional influence, saying such talks would be against the values of the Islamic Republic.

Trump withdrew the US last month from the 2015 accord between Iran and world powers that curbed Tehran’s nuclear activity in exchange for sanctions relief.

He said the deal was deeply flawed as it had not curbed Iran’s ballistic missile programme or reined in its support for proxies in conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

“We have the scientific ability to increase our missile range but it is not our current policy since most of the enemies’ strategic targets are already within this 2,000-km range. This range is enough to protect the Islamic Republic,” Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari was quoted as saying.

Jafari said on Tuesday that previous negotiations with the US about Iran’s nuclear programme were “an exception,” and called Iranian politicians and activists who have favoured fresh talks with Trump “traitors and anti-revolutionaries”.

On Saturday, over 100 activists associated with the moderate and reformist camps in Iranian politics welcomed Trump’s deal with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un envisaging a complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

In a statement by Iranian media, the activists urged Tehran to start negotiations with Washington “with no preconditions” to resolve decades of enmity between the two countries dating to Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Since US withdrawal from the deal, European signatories France, Britain and Germany have been scrambling to ensure Iran retains enough economic benefits to persuade it not to pull out.

Iran’s nuclear chief said Europe’s proposals to salvage the deal were not satisfying for Tehran.

Referring to Iran’s regional role, Salehi was quoted as saying, “If it continues like this, all sides will lose.”

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