‘We built, are building & will build missiles’ – Iranian president says amid row with US

‘We built, are building & will build missiles’ – Iranian president says amid row with US
Iran will not back down and stop producing missiles and stockpiling or “using” any weapons to defend itself, as this does not violate any international deals, President Hassan Rouhani said.

Speaking on state TV Sunday, the defiant president said that Iranians “have built, are building and will continue to build missiles,” which, according to Rouhani, does not violate international agreements. “We will produce any weapons of any kind that we need and stockpile it and use it at any time to defend ourselves,” Rouhani added. The statement comes as tensions between Tehran and Washington grow and the rhetoric becomes harsher.

On Thursday, the US House of Representatives almost unanimously voted for new sanctions on Tehran’s ballistic missile program. The document – the Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act – was introduced in March. 

“A key Iranian strategy is to enhance their ballistic missile capabilities to further their regional hegemonic ambitions,” Congressman Scott Taylor said. According to him, the bill targets and undercuts Iran’s attempts “by identifying and sanctioning the companies, banks, and individuals assisting Iran’s missile programs.”

Rouhani also lashed out at US President Donald Trump, who said earlier in October that he would not re-certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement. Instead, he deferred the matter to Congress to establish new conditions.

“You are disregarding past negotiations and agreements approved by the UN Security council and expect others to negotiate with you?” Rouhani said, apparently addressing the US leader. Trump’s decision prompted an international backlash at the time, with EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini pointing out that the Iran nuclear deal was not a bilateral, but rather a multinational, agreement. Hence, it was “not up to any single country” to drop it.

The Iranian nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) was ratified in Vienna in July 2015. The agreement was reached between Tehran and the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UNSC (China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US) plus Germany.

Earlier in October, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said that Tehran does not believe that any additional inspections on Iranian nuclear sites are necessary. There is no need to change or add any chapters to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, he stated.

Also this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that canceling the deal would jeopardize global security. “Restoring the UN Security Council sanctions [on Iran] is out of the question,” Lavrov added. UN nuclear watchdog IAEA has repeatedly stated that Iran is complying with the deal.