Iran vows to continue developing missiles

Iran declares it will continue its ballistic missile program, despite criticism on the issue by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

Ben Ariel ,

Missiles at a Revolutionary Guards parade in Tehran (archive)
Missiles at a Revolutionary Guards parade in Tehran (archive)

A defiant Iran declared on Saturday it will continue its ballistic missile program, even after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said that the missile tests are not in the spirit of the country's landmark nuclear deal with world powers, The Associated Press reports.

"Iran will strongly continue its missile program based on its own defense and national security calculations," foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said in comments published on the ministry's website.

Iran's missile program is not linked to the nuclear deal and does not conflict with the UN Security Council resolution endorsing the agreement, stressed Ghasemi.

"Iran's missile program has aimed at defense and it is not designed to carry a nuclear warhead," he added, according to AP.

Ban's report, issued late last week, said Iran's recent ballistic missile tests were inconsistent with the nuclear deal it signed with world powers.

He also called on the Islamic Republic to stop the tests and said they increase tensions in the Middle East.

Iran on Friday rejected the report as "unrealistic", and urged the UN chief to issue a “fair report in which he also mentions America is not fulfilling its commitments under the deal.”

The U.S., France, Britain and Germany called in March for the Security Council to discuss "appropriate responses" to Iran's ballistic missile activity, which they said was "destabilizing and provocative."

Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi described the international response as "strange," adding that "I think a conspiracy is taking shape."

Iran continues to conduct live tests of its ballistic missiles - some of which are capable of reaching as far as Europe - in defiance of international sanctions against the regime in Tehran.

In one such incident, the Iranian regime fired a number of ballistic missiles in tests across the country. The words “annihilate Israel” were reportedly written on the missiles, and Iranian officials claimed the missile systems being developed were needed “to confront the Zionist entity” and to ensure “its collapse”.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has expressed support for the tests, and has stressed that missiles, and not negotiations, will be a part of his country’s future relations with the outside world.

Furthermore, a senior Iranian commander just recently threatened Israel with annihilation, and said his country has over 100,000 missiles waiting in Lebanon alone capable of destroying Israel.