Tehran will boost its missile capabilities, Iranian president Rouhani says

Tehran will boost its missile capabilities, Iranian president Rouhani says
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has vowed to strengthen the country’s missile capabilities, state media reported. The statement comes amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington after President Trump's speech at the UN General Assembly.

The Iranian leader addressed the military on Friday, during a parade marking the start of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar.

Rouhani said that the country will boost its military capabilities, from missiles to ground, air and sea forces. The military will be strengthened to the extent that Iran considers necessary, he added.

"We will increase our military power as a deterrent. We will strengthen our missile capabilities...We will not seek permission from anyone to defend our country," Rouhani said, as cited by the Irna news agency.

The president stressed the defensive nature of their weapons. Their purpose is to defend the country and the region from “the invasion of the great powers” and from terrorism, he said.

He emphasized that, “like it or not,” Tehran will defend “the oppressed people” of Yemen, Syria and Palestine.

In his first speech at the UN on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump called Iran a “depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos,” accusing it of funding terrorists and undermining the stability of the entire Middle East. Trump also said that the milestone nuclear deal concluded in 2015 by Tehran and leading world powers, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions” and “an embarrassment” to the US.

Tehran has blasted Trump’s choice of words, calling them “shameless and ignorant remarks,” that ignore “Iran’s fight against terrorism,”said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was among the negotiators of the document that restricts Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for a loosening of international sanctions. 

“The foolish, very ugly, and ignoble speech of the US president, with its gangster and cowboy language full of sheer lies, is rooted in their anger, frustration, and light-headedness,” the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in Tehran on Thursday, according to the Tasnim news agency. He also stressed that Trump’s remarks stem from the failure of Washington’s “years-long plots in west Asia.”

Many world powers and officials have expressed their concern about the American leader’s speech. French President Emmanuel Macron warned that repudiating the JCPOA would be “a grave error” and said that “it is a good accord that is essential to peace.” Berlin opposes scrapping the agreement, according to Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who told RT that it wants to “to make sure that the Iran nuclear deal does not fall apart.” 

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that no party violated the terms of the nuclear deal and there is “no need” to re-negotiate it.

READ MORE: No renegotiating Iran nuclear deal, all parties fully compliant – EU foreign policy chief

Moscow also voiced support for the deal, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying that Iran’s strict compliance with the agreement was attested to by the IAEA. Russia hopes that “a unilateral attempt to derail this breakthrough collective agreement” would fail as the collapse of the agreement “will be the worst signal we can send to North Korea," Russia’s UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia said.