In defiance of threats from President Donald Trump, Iran showed off a new long-range ballistic missile capable of reaching targets in the Middle East, including Israel, during a military parade on Friday. The Khorramshahr missile has a range of roughly 1,200 miles and can carry multiple warheads.
"We seek no one’s permission to defend our land," said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during Friday's parade, vowing to strengthen his country's defense capabilities despite complaints from Trump regarding the Iran nuclear deal earlier this week.
"The great nation of Iran has always pursued peace and security in the region and the world, and has always defended the oppressed people of the world. We will defend the downtrodden people of Yemen, Syria, and Palestine whether you like it or not," Rouhani added.
"Iran’s public display of the missile and Rouhani’s comments were largely a response to the Trump administration’s declared intention to pressure Tehran to accept limitations on its ballistic missile programs," Robert Einhorn, who played a crucial role in formulating U.S. policy toward Iran's nuclear program while advising the Obama administration on nonproliferation and arms control, tells Newsweek.
"Rouhani is putting down a strong marker that Iran’s missile programs are not on the negotiating table," he adds.
During his first address to the United Nations, Trump on Tuesday referred to Iran as a "corrupt dictatorship" that exports "violence, bloodshed and chaos."
"We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program," Trump said, while also referring to the Iran nuclear deal as "an embarrassment" to the U.S.
The president called on the world to join the U.S. "in demanding that Iran's government end its pursuit of death and destruction."
Rouhani on Wednesday described Trump's speech as "ignorant, absurd and hateful," adding that it would be a "great pity" if the nuclear deal was dismantled because of "rogue newcomers" to politics.
The Iran nuclear deal was orchestrated by the Obama administration and put strains on U.S. relations with enemies of Iran, including Israel and Saudi Arabia. Much of Iran celebrated the deal, which was lauded by many arms control experts.
"The Iran Deal will shrink wrap Iran’s nuclear program for a generation," said Joe Cirincione, the president of Ploughshares Fund, a foundation promoting nuclear deproliferation, at the time of the deal.
Former President Barack Obama has maintained the deal cut off a pathway to nuclear weapons for Iran and made the world safer.
During his U.S. presidential campaign, Trump vowed to dismantle the deal, but he's gone back and forth on the idea since entering the White House. The Trump administration told Congress in July that Iran was complying with the terms of the deal, but added the country would face consequences if it violated "the spirit" of the deal. More recently, Trump has reportedly considered decertifying the deal and allowing Congress to decide whether to withdraw from it.
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