Iran working on nuclear-capable missiles: European powers

An Iranian Shahab-3 missile launched during military exercises outside the city of Qom, Iran, in June 2011. (FILE PHOTO)

BERLIN — Britain, France and Germany have accused Iran of developing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in a letter dismissed by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Thursday as "a desperate falsehood".

UN ambassadors for the three countries said in the letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that Iran's actions were "inconsistent" with the UN resolution enshrining a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. But Zarif on Twitter said the Europeans were covering up their own "miserable incompetence" at abiding by the nuclear deal and were "bowing to US bullying".

The letter referred to footage shared on social media in April this year of the test flight of a new Shabab-3 medium range ballistic missile variant that was "technically capable of delivering a nuclear weapon".

The European powers also pointed to three other launches this year, including that of the Borkan-3, a new medium-range ballistic missile tested by Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen on Aug.2, 2019.

The letter, dated Nov.21, 2019 said these flights were "the latest in a long series of advances in Iranian ballistic missile technology".

Iran's UN ambassador responded in a letter saying the European powers were using "unreliable sources" and "outdated reports" to make misleading arguments.

Iran has always denied plans to develop nuclear missiles and claims that its nuclear program is only for peaceful energy production and medical purposes. AFP