Iran to strengthen missiles despite criticism from US
TEHRAN - Agence France-PressePresident Hassan Rouhani vowed on Sept. 22 that Iran would boost its ballistic missile capabilities despite criticism from the United States and also France.
His comments came as Iran displayed a new missile at a military parade marking the anniversary of the outbreak of its devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
"Whether you like it or not, we are going to strengthen our military capabilities which are necessary for deterrence," Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state television.
"We will strengthen not only our missiles but also our air, land and sea forces... When it comes to defending our country, we will ask nobody for their permission."
Criticism by the Donald Trump administration of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers, including the United States, has focused heavily on Tehran's continuing missile programme.
Tehran says that the missiles are entirely legitimate under the terms of the deal as they are not designed to carry a nuclear warhead.
But Washington says they breach the spirit of the agreement as they have the potential to carry a nuclear warhead and has imposed new sanctions over Tehran's continuing launches and tests.
Iran showed off a new missile, named Khoramshahr after a southwestern city, at an anniversary military parade in the capital.
“The Khoramshahr missile has a range of 2,000 kilometres and can carry multiple warheads," the official IRNA news agency quoted Revolutionary Guards aerospace chief General Amir Ali Hajizadeh as saying.
Thus far, the U.N. nuclear watchdog and the U.S. State Department have reported that Tehran has complied with the terms of the nuclear deal.
Washington has been particularly concerned about Iran's intervention in Syria on the side of the government of President Bashar al-Assad and its support for Shiite rebels in Yemen. But Rouhani ruled out any change of policy in the region.