By Mohammad Ghaderi

Five Points on Western Missile Policy toward Iran

November 22, 2017

In recent weeks, we have witnessed Western political and media propaganda against our country's missile power. This trend has intensified after the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, which is considered to be a defeat of the West in the region. Donald Trump, the U.S. President, in his controversial speech against the nuclear deal, also called for the inclusion of Iran's missile capability as a prerequisite for maintaining the nuclear deal by the United States. On the other hand, French President Emanuel Macron has repeatedly expressed concern over our country's missile power over the past few days. Macron has called for talks with Iran on this issue. It's obvious that there exists cooperation among Western officials in opposition to Iran's missile program. There are some points that need to be addressed in this regard:

 At the September meeting between U.S. and French presidents on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, it was decided that Paris would exacerbate its pressure on Tehran to hold missile talks. Even so, before the visit, French officials wanted to negotiate Iran's missile and defense capabilities. But after this meeting, France's pressure on the missile and defense capabilities of our country has increased exponentially. Even Emanuel Macron blamed the Ansarullah missile attack against Riyadh on the Islamic Republic of Iran. Under this pretext, he called the missile power of our country a threat to regional security. Therefore, French authorities recent positions against Iran's missile program have not been coincidental or accidental, but it's rather the result of cooperation between Trump and Macron.

In the course of the nuclear negotiations between Iran and members of the P1 + 5 in Geneva and Vienna, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius played the role of the bad police, and prevented the conclusion of an interim agreement between the parties in Geneva. Now, Emmanuel Macron has been tasked by Trump to play the role of the bad police toward Iran's missile power once again. The only difference is that there isn't, and won't be a negotiation anymore! Even some sources of news and analysis believe that the president of the United States has made promises to Macron in exchange for the role this country is taking in this issue. One of these promises is the revision of the Paris climate agreement. Of course, the French authorities have consistently emphasized that the Paris climate agreement is not linked to other issues in its foreign policy. But Washington and Paris don't look separately at controversial subjects in their foreign policy!

During the years of 2012 and 2014, and in the course of nuclear talks between Iran and members of the P1 + 5, the former U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, called for the inclusion of Iran's missile capability in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It has even reached a point that the Muscat Talks broke out in 2014 because of the insistence of the American side on this issue. Richard Nephew, a member of the U.S. nuclear negotiating team who is also considered the architect of sanctions on Iran, has recently emphasized that Washington had to retreat from its positions in that period, since the negotiations would have failed otherwise (if the U.S. insisted on the inclusion of Iran's missile power in the JCPOA) . However, he has suggested that at this time, issues such as power, range and extend, and even the number of Iran's missiles can be negotiated! Hence, there is little theoretical difference between Democrats and Republicans in the United States on missile confrontation with Iran. About a month ago, the House of Representatives passed a resolution entitled "Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act". A remarkable point in this regard was the absolute support of the Democratic congresses with the Republicans, so that even one Democrat member of the House of Representatives did not oppose the issue.

Unlike what it seems, the equation of "West's confrontation with Iran's missile power" is not very difficult. The United States and the European Troika are cooperating to deal with Iran's defensive and missile capabilities. Washington and Paris are two main actors on the other side of the equation, while London and Berlin have already shown the green light to the White House and the Elysee Palace. Thus, there is a consensus between Washington and the European Troika in the intrinsic aspect of the issue.

 However, in terms of appearance and form, there is only one difference between the United States and its allies: Trump believes that Iran's missile power should be pursued in the context of the nuclear agreement document. This is while European Troika and Democrats believe that the issue of Iran's missile power should be concluded as a separate issue and in the form of a secondary agreement.

 The British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel have also told the American officials that attempts to change the JCPOA through an addendum (which includes Iran's missile power) are pointless, but it can be in the form of a second agreement (The JCPOA II ). Even people like Secretary of State Rex Tillerson agree with the idea, however, senators like Tom Cotton and politicians like Nikki Haley are still opposed to this so-called solution.

The U.S. and European Troika's formal controversy over how to limit Iran's missile power is not of importance to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The main thing is that there is a consensus on the overall issue between Washington and its European partners. In other words, the "apparent and formal aspect" of the issue should not distract our diplomacy and foreign policy apparatus from the "intrinsic and real" aspect of the west program towards our missile capability.

 What is certain is that the only possible way to neutralize any action by the United States and its European allies against Iran's missile power is to abstain from any negotiation with them. On the other hand, the strengthening of our country's defense capabilities should be given priority. Also, the European Troika should be subjected to serious criticism from the foreign policy apparatus of our country for playing on the land of the United States. Undoubtedly, through decisive and clever dealing with this issue, the cooperation between the White House and the Elysee Palace, and two European countries of Germany and France against our country's defense and missile capabilities will be fertile.

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