Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivered another snub to the Trump administration on Friday when he said that Iran would continue its missile program in defiance of US sanctions, and to underscore the determination, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard unveiled its newest long-range ballistic missile during a military parade in Tehran.
The new missile that was introduced at the parade is capable of reaching much of the Middle East, including Israel, with a range of 1,200 miles. It's also capable of carrying several warheads. The parade in Tehran commemorated the 1980s Iraq-Iran war. Though Iran has long boasted of having missiles in the same range in its arsenal, it was the first time that the new Khoramshahr missile was displayed in public, the AP reported adding that in February, Iran test-fired the same medium-range type of missile, prompting Trump to say that the United States is "putting Iran on notice."
Friday's parade also showcased various Iranian army units and Revolutionary Guard forces, as well as the police, according to the Associated Press. Similar parades were held in other Iranian cities.
Rouhani addressed the parade in Tehran, saying that Iran would not halt its missile program but continue to boost military capabilities, despite U.S. demands.
“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.
“All countries in the world supported the nuclear deal in the United Nations General Assembly this year ... except the United States and the Zionist regime (Israel),” Rouhani said.
During his address to the general assembly earlier in the week, Rouhani slammed the US and Trump for reneging, and claimed that the Iran deal belongs “to the world” and “cannot be renegotiated.” He criticized Trump’s “ugly, ignorant words” made during Trump's own address where he urged world powers to come together and pressure the Iranian regime. Rouhani added that the country’s missile program is vital to national security, citing the country's long-running war with Iraq in the 1980s as justification for the program.
Iran has continued its ballistic missiles program in defiance of sanctions signed into law by US President Donald Trump in August that targeted any person or company that does business with any entity designated by the administration as having a connection to Iran's missile program. The White House said the sanctions were also levied in response to the country’s purported support of terrorists and alleged human rights violations.
Trump said earlier this week that he has made up his mind about whether to re-certify Iran’s compliance with the deal, but has yet to reveal his decision publicly. The administration has until Oct. 15 to decide whether to label Iran compliant or not. The White House certified in July that Iran was in compliance with the nuclear deal, but would “face consequences” for violating the “spirit” of the deal.
In a press conference Wednesday night, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson repeated the administration’s line that Iran, while technically in compliance with the deal's terms, has continued to engage in destabilizing behaviors like funding Hezbollah, and Shia militias fighting on behalf of embattled Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, and by continuing its ballistic weapons program. Tillerson said the agreement must be altered, or the US wouldn’t be able to abide by its terms.
Other signatories to the deal have expressed reluctance to renegotiate. According to Reuters, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said tensions on the Korean peninsula underlined the importance of the Iranian deal, and that China would continue to support it. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the US imposition of unilateral sanctions on Iran was “illegitimate and undermines the collective nature of international efforts.”