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Russian Foreign Ministry says there is no legal ban on Iran’s missile tests

The diplomat does not rule out some states might distrust Iran for fear that "the development of its missile capabilities may eventually pose serious problems"

MOSCOW, September 26. /TASS/. Iran’s ballistic missiles tests do not run counter to UN Security Council resolutions or violate any international agreements, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s non-proliferation and weapons control department, Mikhail Ulyanov, said in the wake of reports Tehran had allegedly carried out a successful test of a new ballistic missile having a range of up to 2,000 kilometers and capable of carrying several warheads.

"There is no ban that might prevent Iran from testing missiles. A corresponding compromise was achieved in coordinating the joint action plan for a settlement of the Iranian nuclear program issue," Ulyanov said.

"The previous ban, contained in the UN Security Council resolutions, was canceled to be replaced by a call addressed to Iran to refrain from launching ballistic missiles - not any missiles, though, but only those capable of serving as WMD delivery vehicles. That part of the deal is a compromise and it is to be complied with."

Iranian missiles and WMD

Ulyanov believes that at the moment "there is not the slightest reason to believe that Iranian missiles are capable of carrying a nuclear warhead or any other weapon of mass destruction."

"The deal over the Iranian nuclear program concluded two years ago works," he explained. "There are no nuclear weapons in Iran. Nor are there any chemical or bacteriological ones. No such charges have ever been addressed to Iran. So what’s the problem?"

Ulyanov did not rule out some countries might distrust Iran for fear that "the development of its missile capabilities may eventually pose serious problems to them."

This explains why these countries wish to anticipate events and to prevent Tehran from working on respective programs.

"But nobody can explain what’s the basis of the suspicion Iranian missiles are designed to carry WMD," Ulyanov asked.

Intermediate and shorter range missiles

"There are two countries in the world that have renounced intermediate and shorter range missiles - Russia and the United States," Ulyanov recalled.

"There are no more such countries. Most NATO members in Europe do not work on such weapons and do not put them on duty. But at least two dozen countries around the world do so, and they have the right for this. No international bans exist."

On the list of such countries Ulyanov mentioned Iran, which believes that "in the context of the current situation in the region and its relations with neighbors such missiles are a means to guarantee its national security."

Missile threat to Europe

According to the Russian diplomat, "Iran’s missile capabilities have long served as a pretext for creating a European segment of the missile defense."

"When asked directly if Europe is really afraid of missile strikes by Iran, European partners usually reply with a silent smile. Everybody understands that Iran has not the slightest reason for such strikes. And the missile’s range is not enough."