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Iran’s foreign minister and chief negotiator in nuclear talks with the West declared victory for his country, stating that no matter how the negotiations end, Tehran has come out “the winner,” according to remarks made on Tuesday and presented in the country’s state-run press.
Javad Zarif, the Islamic Republic’s foreign minister, stated in remarks before the country’s powerful Assembly of Experts, which recently installed a hardline new cleric as its leader, that the nuclear negotiations have established Tehran as a global power broker.
“We are the winner whether the [nuclear] negotiations yield results or not,” Zarif was quoted as saying before the assembly by the Tasnim News Agency. “The capital we have obtained over the years is dignity and self-esteem, a capital that could not be retaken.”
Zarif’s comments were accompanied by a host of bold military displays by Tehran in recent weeks, including the announcement of one new weapon that Iranian military leaders have described as a “very special” missile.
As the United States and Iran rush to hash out a final nuclear agreement ahead of a self-imposed July deadline, Zarif also lashed out at congressional Republicans who have expressed skepticism over the Obama administration’s diplomacy and have fought to exert control over the implementation of any deal.
Zarif dismissed as a “propaganda ploy” a recent letter signed by 47 Senate Republicans that warned Tehran against placing too much stock in a weak deal agreed to by the Obama administration.
Meanwhile, Iran’s military continues to unveil a range of new strategic missiles and advanced weapons meant to project strength throughout the region.
Iran disclosed during military drills late in February that it is developing a missile capable of being fired from a submerged submarine. Top Iranian military leaders have described the missile as a “very special weapon,” according to IHS Jane’s, a defense industry news source.
“I believe that this weapon is a strategic weapon,”Admiral Ali Fadavi, the naval commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said on state television, according to Jane’s. “It has special characteristics.”
Fadavi declined to provide additional details about the missile. “I would like to keep this information for the future. It is a very special weapon and the Americans cannot even surmise how strong and effective this weapon is.”
On Tuesday morning, the commander of Iran’s navy previewed the unveiling of “advanced surface and subsurface vessels” that will soon be incorporated into the country’s fleet, according to the state-run Fars News Agency.
Iran has put great stock in its navy, investing significant resources to bolster the force and make it a principal player in key global shipping lanes, including around the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, and the Caspian Sea.
Sea-based weapons were a major focus of recent high-level meetings between Iranian and Russian officials, who agreed to a new arms pact.
Earlier this week, Iran initiated into its fleet a new destroyer ship that is “armed with advanced anti-surface and anti-subsurface weapons and air defense systems,” according to military leaders quoted by Fars.
The ship was immediately deployed to the Caspian Sea, an area Iran views as critical to its interests.
Admiral Kordad Hakimi, a top Iranian navy official, told the country’s press that Iran is prepared to use force in the region.
“We have no security problem in the Caspian Sea today, [but] … the Navy is fully prepared to confront any threat,” he was quoted as saying.
Iranian officials have also bragged about being in full control of five out of nine major international waterways.