Defense Nominee Pledges to Boost Missile Capabilities

President Hassan Rouhani’s pick for defense minister is highly likely to win a vote of confidence, as no lawmaker spoke against his qualifications in the Thursday confirmation hearing
Lieutenant General Amir Hatami, rhe nominee for defense minister, speaks in the parliament on August 17. Lieutenant General Amir Hatami, rhe nominee for defense minister, speaks in the parliament on August 17.

President Hassan Rouhani's defense minister-designate underlined his determination to help boost Iran's ballistic missile capabilities if he receives the parliamentary confirmation for the post.

Lieutenant General Amir Hatami was speaking on Thursday before parliament on the third day of discussions on the qualifications of Rouhani's nominees for ministerial posts.

He underscored the importance of promoting the country's missile defense capabilities as one of the key priorities over the next four years, Press TV reported.

"In the next four years, apart from enhancing combat and defense capabilities, we will make special effort to boost missile and ballistic power, strategic air power and strategic maritime power, and increase rapid reaction forces," Hatami said.

During the Thursday debate, four legislators delivered speeches in favor of the defense minister nominee, while no lawmaker spoke against his qualifications. Hatami needs the legislature's vote of confidence to serve in the new Cabinet.

"Iran has achieved defense deterrence power and the enemies acknowledge Iran's high defense power in the region and the world," he said.

The defense minister nominee pointed to the failure of enemy attempts to isolate the Islamic Republic and said many of the governments, which initiated sanctions against Iran, are now trying to develop cooperation with Iran. Hatami stressed the need for identifying and countering US-led threats as another part of his plan for the Defense Ministry. Iran has recently made major breakthroughs in defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing vital military equipment and hardware. The Islamic Republic says its military power poses no threat to other countries and is merely based on the doctrine of deterrence.

Over the past few months, the US administration has imposed a series of sanctions against Iran over its missile program. Iran has slammed the bans as a violation of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council—the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia—plus Germany on July 14, 2015. They started implementing the agreement on January 16, 2016.

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