Iranian Missiles – a Shield against Better Relations with US?

By Arash Karami, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

The nuclear agreement between Iran and the six world powers ended a decade of tensions and saw for the first time in over three decades direct, bilateral negotiations between Iran and the United States. But Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has not put his guard down against what he sees as American designs on Iran.

Domestically, Iranian officials who want better relations with the United States are often labeled as being under the influence or agents of US “penetration.” Regionally and internationally, it appears that Iranian missiles are perhaps intended to make sure the United States keeps a safe distance from the country. However, not all officials are in line with that worldview.

“The world of tomorrow is the world of discourse, not missiles,” read a March 23 tweet by Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who has favored better relations with the United States in previous statements. On March 9, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had tested long-range ballistic missiles, which European and US officials said were “in defiance” of a UN resolution. The missile launch was highly publicized, and afterward, a number of IRGC commanders touted Iran’s defensive and military capabilities in interviews with Iranian media.

Rafsanjani’s tweet, which was shared widely online and covered by Iranian media, seems to have caught the attention of Khamenei, who indirectly addressed it in a March 30 speech.

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