Top Iran diplomat says talks on ballistic missiles possible

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Top Iran diplomat says talks on ballistic missiles possible
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, shakes hand with French presidential envoy Emmanuel Bonne, as they pose for photos, in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, July 10, 2019. France sent Bonne to Tehran to urge Iran to return to complying with the terms of the deal "without delay." (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran’s foreign minister has for the first time suggested his country’s ballistic missile program could be on the table for negotiations with the U.S. — if America stops selling arms to its Gulf allies in the Mideast.

Mohammad Javad Zarif’s comments came in an NBC News interview that aired Monday night.

Iran long has maintained its ballistic missile program, under the control of its Revolutionary Guard, is for defensive purposes only. The 2015 nuclear deal that Tehran struck with world powers did not include its missile program.

Zarif says American weaponry “is going into our region, making our region ready to explode. So if they want to talk about our missiles, they need first to stop selling all these weapons.”

Iran long has criticized U.S. arms sales in the region.