Iran’s military chief has warned it has long practice defensive military policy but could reverse it if tensions with rivals continue to rise. Major General Mohammad Bagheri, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, issued the sabre-rattling warning yesterday. He said Iran would switch to an offensive military approach if it sensed it was being threatened in any way.
Mr Bagheri said: “Our defence strategy is to protect the independence, territorial integrity and national interests of our country.
“If there is any intention of attack against our interests, and we see evidence of it, we will not remain passive and allow the country’s security and peace to be threatened.”
Mr Bagheri’s comments were followed today by another Irani official warning France it would not be compromising its missile policy.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said: “Our missile programme is a defensive programme that we only discuss it inside the country.
“I cannot confirm holding any secret talks with France over our missile programme.
“We talk about regional and political issues with France but our missile capability is not negotiable … we have repeatedly said that during our political talks with France.”
A UN Security Council resolution, which enshrined Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers in 2015, “called upon” Tehran to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons.
Iran says its missile tests are not in violation of the resolution and denies its missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
US President Donald Trump exited the deal in May and reimposed sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the pact in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear programme.
As the Trump administration accused Iran last year of harbouring nuclear ambitions and fomenting instability in the Middle East, the EU sought dialogue with Tehran.
At meetings between European and Iranian diplomats last year, Britain, France, Germany and Italy, pressed for gestures on Iran’s role in Syria’s war and for help to end the conflict in Yemen.