A senior US official expresses optimism about a possible resolving of the dispute over Iran's nuclear energy program but says Washington is still concerned about the threat posed by Tehran's missiles to the Persian Gulf states, PressTV reported.
Speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, US deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Space and Defense Policy, Frank Rose, added that Washington was "acutely" aware of anxieties of Arab countries in the Persian Gulf about what he called threats from Iran's missile program.
"We are optimistic that we'll have a successful resolution of the Iran nuclear issue ... but that doesn't downgrade our concern about Iran's other bad behaviors, specifically their support for terrorism as well as their continued development of ballistic missile capabilities," Rose said on the sidelines of a conference on missiles and defense."
Rose's comments came as Iran has repeatedly assured other nations, especially regional neighbors, that its military might poses no threat to other countries, insisting that its defense doctrine is merely based on deterrence.
Meanwhile, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has issued a religious decree prohibiting nuclear weapons.
In the fatwa (religious decree), Ayatollah Khamenei said the Islamic Republic considers the pursuit and possession of nuclear weapons "a grave sin" from every logical, religious and theoretical standpoint.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, France, Britain, Russia, and China - plus Germany sealed an interim deal in the Swiss city of Geneva on November 24, 2013, to pave the way for the full resolution of the decade-old dispute over the Islamic Republic's nuclear energy program. The deal came into force on January 20.
The two sides are scheduled to resume expert-level talks in New York on May 5-9.