Iran defends rocket tests as legitimate

Iran on Thursday defended its recent test of ballistic missiles, two of which carried anti-Israeli inscriptions.

"The Iranian rocket programme is part of national security defence programme and by no means represents a threat to other nations," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Jaber Ansari.

The ministry said Iran was not seeking military confrontation, but that the country needed to be ready to respond to aggression.

Two of the intermediate-range rockets were inscribed in Hebrew with the phrase "Israel should be wiped off the face of the Earth," Fars News Agency had reported on Wednesday.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said the tests represented a serious breach of UN Security Council resolutions, adding that it doubted Iran's commitment to the nuclear agreement.

The landmark nuclear deal that Iran signed with world powers last year saw it agree to shut down nuclear weapons programmes in exchange for an end to international sanctions.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged all parties concerned "to act with restraint," said Stephane Dujarric, Ban's spokesman, on Thursday.

Ban noted that the Security Council resolution endorsing the nuclear deal "called upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons," Dujarric said, adding that it was up to council to decide on the implications of the resolution.

It is unclear how the Security Council will view the ballistic missile tests as members have different views on what obligations Iran must abide by.

The Foreign Ministry in Tehran said its missile tests did not infringe on international agreements as the rockets could not carry nuclear warheads, since Iran does not have a nuclear weapons programme.

The ministry said Iran would continue its rocket programme and to observe international agreements.

The tensions come just days after reformist President Hassan Rowhani said that Iran is tired of tensions with the rest of the world and voters in the country are showing a resumed interest in reconciliation.

Last update: Thu, 10/03/2016 - 23:25

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