Tehran Missile Program “Legitimate”

Tehran Missile Program  “Legitimate”Tehran Missile Program  “Legitimate”

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday Iran will respond to the US sanctions over its recent missile test by focusing more determinedly on its defense program.

Hossein Jaber Ansari, the ministry's spokesperson, read out the statement to reporters at a weekly press conference in Tehran, IRNA reported.

The United States imposed sanctions on 11 companies and individuals on Sunday for supplying Iran's ballistic missile program in a move delayed by over two weeks, reportedly to avoid endangering this weekend's release of US prisoners.

The new measures followed the lifting of far more comprehensive nuclear sanctions under a deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, between Iran and the US and five other powers, which went into full force on Saturday.

"As the Islamic Republic of Iran has previously made clear, it will closely monitor the US commitment to JCPOA and will act based on the policies of the Supreme National Security Council to respond to such propagandistic and provocative acts by pursuing its legitimate missile program more resolutely to bolster defense capabilities and national security," the ministry said.

Iran conducted a ballistic missile test in October, which the United Nations called a breach of a resolution prohibiting the Islamic Republic from developing missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.

Iran insists the missile was designed to carry a conventional payload.

Such claims against Iran's missile program, which is meant for defense and deterrence, are "immoral and illegitimate" as they come from a country that has been supplying regional actors with advanced weapons, worth tens of billions of dollars annually, traditionally used to target Palestinian, Lebanese and, recently, Yemeni civilians, the statement said.

"Iran's missile program has not been designed to deliver nuclear weapons, so it is by no means an infringement of international law."

In answer to a reporter's question, Ansari said the missile sanctions should not be referred to as "fresh sanctions" because they have been introduced as an extension to an already existing blacklist.

In a separate development, Fars News Agency quoted Defense Minister Lieutenant General Hossein Dehqan as saying Tehran will unveil new achievements relating to its missile program to prove the sanctions' "ineffectiveness".