July 10, 2015 Special Dispatch No. 6100

Leaks From The Negotiation Room: Iran, Russia vs. U.S. In Verbal Clash Over Iran's Ballistic Missiles

July 10, 2015
Iran, Russia | Special Dispatch No. 6100

Leaks this past week from the negotiation room in Vienna show that the issue of ballistic missiles has been brought up by Iran, with the support of Russia, in the nuclear negotiations. This is despite that fact that so far, throughout all the months of negotiations, Iran has steadfastly refused to discuss this issue, claiming that it has nothing to do with its nuclear program.

Nevertheless, at this time the Iranians have raised the issue of ballistic missiles and have demanded that the sanctions connected to them be lifted. The sanctions were imposed due to the fear that Iran is striving to develop nuclear warheads that can be mounted on ballistic missiles.

On July 8, 2015, two days before the end of the second extension of the deadline for announcing a final agreement, a Russian source close to the negotiations leaked to the Iranian news agency Mehr details about a loud verbal clash at a meeting of the sides' foreign ministers two days previously, on July 6.

It should be noted that on June 30, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had instructed Iranian President Hassan Rohani, as part of his plan for Iran's development, "to improve Iran's deterrent capability by means of expanding its missile capability."[1]

Photo of Zarif from July 8, 2015 Mehr report.

The following is the translation of the Mehr report:

Russian Source: Iranian FM Zarif Told Kerry: "You Are In No Position Whatsoever To Determine [Anything] About Iran's Missile Capability"

A Russian source close to the nuclear negotiations told a Mehr correspondent in Vienna: "On Monday evening [July 6], there were intensive negotiations and challenges between Iran and the members of the P5+1 around the negotiating table. At this meeting, the American negotiating team defined Iran's missile capability as a threat to Middle East stability, and demanded, in a threatening tone, that Iran submit to Washington's exact demands regarding the arms embargo on Iran and Iran's missile capability.

"In response to the open threat by the Americans, Iran's foreign minister [Javad Zarif] shouted heatedly at the American negotiating team that all the problems in the region are impacted by their actions and by the West's support for terrorists with funds and weapons. He added, 'You are in no position whatsoever to determine [anything] about Iran's missile capability.'"

Zarif To Western Colleagues: "Never Threaten An Iranian"

The Russian source added: "Following Zarif's resolute reaction, [European Union foreign policy chief Federica] Mogherini entered the conversation and threatened Iran that she would leave the negotiations. The Iranian foreign minister was not deterred, and said assertively to the Western [representatives]: 'Remember, never threaten an Iranian.'

"Zarif's assertive stance was welcomed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said immediately after him, 'Nor a Russian.'"


[1] Website of Khamenei's office,, June 30, 2015.

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