Negotiating Iran's Missile Program Will Not Be Easy And Quick, Says Expert

Mark Fitzpatrick--Executive Director, IISS-Americas

As the fresh deadline set by US President Donald Trump to amend the Iran nuclear deal is approaching, three European allies, France, United Kingdom and Germany are eager to salvage the agreement. In doing so the Europeans have engaged in direct talks with the US; 3rd round of such talks is set to take place in Berlin Mid-March.

US says if “flaws” of the deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is not fixed, it will pull out of the deal. One of these flaws which Trump administration has highlighted since taking office, is the exclusion of Iran’s ballistic missile program from the deal. The issue has been addressed in the UNSC resolution 2231 which supported the deal.

In this resolution the Security Council has called upon Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology”. However, Iran’s interpretation of this clause is that the country is not prohibited to engage in advancing its missiles program but rather it was simply “called upon”.

Now the EU3, mainly France, is trying to talk Iran into accepting limitations on its Missile Program in order to encourage US to preserve JCPOA; Iran has yet to give in.

Proliferation experts, such as Mark Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS)–Americas, believe this can be realized. In a recent article with his colleague Michael Elleman, Mr. Fitpatrick explains which missiles can be a subject of negotiation with Iran. He discussed the matter in an interview with Radio Farda’s Hannah Kaviani.

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Why wouldn't Iran be different when it comes to limiting their missile progam?

The Ranges Of Iran's missiles

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What about the pressure on Iran to give up missiles of 300 kilometer range?

Iran -- A TV grab taken on September 23, 2017 from the Iranian Republic Islamic Broadcasting (IRIB) shows a Khoramshahr missile being launched from an undisclosed location, a day after the said missile was first displayed at a high-profile military parade

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What about the pressure on Iran from European countries like France?

IRAN -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) meets with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in the capital Tehran, March 5, 2018

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What would be Iran's incentive to negotiate about its missiles program?

U.S. -- A placard describing pieces of an Iranian Qiam Ballistic Missile on display after US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley unveiled previously classified information intending to prove Iran violated UNSCR 2231 by providing the Houthi rebels