Sampling of recent quotes by Iran’s leadership in reference to JCPOA and UNSC Resolution 2231 (2015) and their potential impact on the country’s military, followed by a brief commentary at bottom of post:
PMD issues with the [IAEA] have been agreed on, and we will act accordingly; certainly, we will not grant access to military secrets…to any authority.” Minister of Defense IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan [source: Sepah News]
“The Americans ought to have understood this meaning by now: [technological] developments do not standstill for these types of of equipment and weapons; we do not seek permission from any [external] authority to arm our country’s armed forces, and we equip our armed forces in proportion to threats.” Minister of Defense IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan [source: Sepah News]
“Unlike the 1995 Dayton Accords that placed specific military restrictions on Bosnia, Iran will decide for itself what its military needs are and will build whatever it wants, whether it be “fighter jets, anti-aircraft weapons, tanks or other armored tools.” Ali Akbar Velayati, President of Expediency Discernment Council's Center for Strategic Research [source: Khamenei.ir]
"[Possessing] ballistic missiles doesn not violate JCPOA… it is a violation of a paragraph in the annex of the [UNSC] Resolution 2231 which is non-binding." Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif [source YJC.ir]
“This paragraph [of the annex] references missiles with nuclear warheads capability, and since we don’t design any of our missiles for carrying nuclear weapons, this paragraph is not relevant to us at all.” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif [source YJC.ir]
“[The West] may make statements but Iran will in no way allow the inspection of military sites, nor will Iran allow interference on what types of defensive weapons Iran can or cannot have.” Abbas Araghchi, Deputy for Legal and International Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [source: Mashregh News]
Tasnim News Agency]
“For me, as a military official, what is more important than anything else … is the protection and promotion of Iran’s defensive abilities.” IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari [source: Tasnim News Agency]
On the agreement that the Security Council voted on, Jafari said, “Some points included in the draft [are] clearly contrary to and a violation of the red lines of the Islamic Republic of Iran, specifically of Iran’s arms capabilities and will never be accepted by us.” IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari [source: Tasnim News Agency]
COMMENTARY: Where certain American observers express concern that Iran would cheat on the nuclear agreement to embark upon or further advance a nuclear weapons program, Iranian figures express a parallel concern that Western countries would cheat by taking advantage of JCPOA provisions to inspect Iranian military sites for the purposes of espionage activities targeting their conventional arms military industrial complex. Iran's military is sensitive to any potential degrading of its deterrent force against attack, as are all militaries the world over.
While Iranian leadership may also display an annoyance to the perception of impinged sovereignty, in general they maintain that they possessed the upper hand in the nuclear negotiations in not possessing a nuclear weapons program, nor the desire to embark upon one-- meaning this part of the agreement was easy to trade away.
What's more, according to a high-profile Iranian commentator, for the Islamic Republic, the main payoff from the nuclear deal was not, first and foremost, sanctions relief. Rather, “For Iran, what was important was to have a peaceful nuclear program. So, the notion that Iran’s path towards a nuclear weapon is blocked is fine for Iranians because it’s not what they were doing in the first place. The biggest gain for Iran here was the fact that its peaceful nuclear program, and the fuel cycle, was recognized…"
Zarif and the Iranian nuclear negotiators rendering of the annex referencing "missiles with nuclear warheads capability" is noteworthy, and appears to be another clever means of surmounting the divergence of positions that ultimately culminated in a JCPOA.