Tehran sticks to its guns over missile building
Dubai — Iran would continue to produce missiles for its defence and did not consider that to be a violation of international accords, President Hassan Rouhani said on state television on Sunday.
Rouhani spoke after the US House of Representatives voted for new sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile programme, part of an effort to clamp down on Tehran without immediately moving to undermine an international nuclear agreement.
He also met the head of the UN nuclear watchdog in Tehran, who again vouched for Iran’s compliance with the 2015 accord that curbed its nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief.
"We have built, are building and will continue to build missiles, and this violates no international agreements," Rouhani said in a speech in parliament.
The US has imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, saying its missile tests violate a UN resolution that calls on Tehran not to undertake activities related to missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
Iran denies that it is seeking nuclear weapons and says that it has no plans to build nuclear-capable missiles. Rouhani also criticised the US over President Donald Trump’s refusal earlier in October to formally certify that Tehran is complying with the accord on Iran’s nuclear programme, even though international inspectors say it is.
"You are disregarding past negotiations and agreements approved by the UN Security Council and expect others to negotiate with you," Rouhani said. "Because of the behaviour it has adopted, America should forget any future talks and agreement with other countries," he added, in an apparent reference to North Korea.
Director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, had "reiterated that the nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran are being implemented and that the JCPOA [the 2015 accord] represents a clear gain from a verification point of view", the agency said.