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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Rouhani says Iran will continue to produce missiles

Iranian president also questions US credibility after Donald Trump refused to certify nuclear deal

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani told parliament on October 29, 2017 that the country's missile programme would continue despite US sanctions. Stephanie Keith / Reuters
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani told parliament on October 29, 2017 that the country's missile programme would continue despite US sanctions. Stephanie Keith / Reuters

Iran will continue to produce missiles for its defence and does not consider that a violation of international accords, president Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday.

Mr Rouhani was speaking days after the US House of Representatives voted for new sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile programme, part of an effort to clamp down on Tehran without immediately undermining an international nuclear agreement .

"We have built, are building and will continue to build missiles, and this violates no international agreements," Mr Rouhani said in a speech in parliament.

"We will produce any weapons of any kind that we need and stockpile it and use it at anytime to defend ourselves."

The United States has already imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, saying its missile tests violate a UN resolution which calls on Tehran not to undertake activities related to missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons and says it has no plans to build nuclear-capable missiles.

The Iranian president also criticised the US over president Donald Trump's refusal earlier this month to formally certify that Tehran is complying with the 2015 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?" Mr Rouhani said.

"Because of the behaviour it has adopted, America should forget any future talks and agreement with other countries," he added, referring to unnamed countries in East Asia, an apparent reference to North Korea.

The US defence secretary Jim Mattis said on Saturday that he could not imagine the United States ever accepting a nuclear North Korea, and stressed during a week-long trip to Asia that diplomacy was America’s preferred course.

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