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Tehran Declares Ballistic Missile Program ‘Non-Negotiable’ - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London – Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said on Tuesday that his country’s policy on developing the national ballistic missiles program is not negotiable.

Nobakht’s commentary was delivered following a neat roll back on anti-ballistic-missile-program sentiment by Iran’s re-elected ‘moderate’ President Hassan Rouhani.

“The Iranian nation has decided to be powerful. Our missiles are for peace and for defense … American officials should know that whenever we need to technically test a missile, we will do so and will not wait for their permission,” Rouhani said in a news conference, broadcast live on state TV.

Second Deputy of the Parliament Ali Motahari urged the quick formation of a qualified administration that would include popular personalities like Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf.

Motahari’s suggestions come amid talks on replacing the current conservative parliament chairman Ali Larijani.

Addressing the parliament on Tuesday, Nobakht said that the government’s commitment on advancing its ballistic missile program is stronger than ever, with its 2017 budget continuing to fund the initiative.
Iran will continue to invest in its missile program, Nobakht said.

Nobakht said that Iran’s missile program—which the US intelligence community suspects could be used to fire a nuclear-armed weapon— will not cease.

“Stronger defense power will further protect the internal and regional security, therefore, it is natural that the country’s defensive missile program is among the Islamic Republic’s unchangeable policies and fortunately, strengthening the defense power has been clearly foreseen in the sixth development program and this year’s budget,” the official was quoted as saying in Iran’s state-controlled media.

Iran maintains that its missile program is defensive in nature, despite mounting evidence that Tehran is building intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Nobakht’s remarks are seen as the Iranian government’s second try at easing tensions and reconcile with the elitist Revolutionary Guards.

Rouhani previously strained relations with the military force by adopting a rhetoric highlighting a growing difference between the government and the Revolutionary Guards over Iran’s missile program and the role of the Revolutionary Guards inside the country, particularly in national economy.

Rouhani accused the Revolutionary Guard of reviewing ballistic missiles on the eve of a nuclear deal to derail the agreement.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps is a branch of Iran’s Armed Forces founded after the Iranian Revolution which solely responds to directives by the acting supreme leader and not the president, in this case being Ali Khamenei.