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Iran vows to boost defense program despite US threats


Senior Iranian defense officials say the US president’s latest claims and threats have failed to break the nation’s iron will to strengthen its defense power, vowing that the Islamic Republic will continue to develop its national defense program.

Iranian Defense Minister General Amir Hatami said Wednesday that Donald Trump’s threats for imposing sanctions against are hollow and nothing that deserves a change in Iran’s policy of improving its defense capabilities.

He was reacting to Trump’s hostile speech late Tuesday, when he officially announced that the US is withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and threatened harsh economic sanctions against the country.

During the speech, the US head of state took aim at Iran’s defensive missile program as well as its role in the regional fight against terrorists besides the country’s civilian nuclear program.

In response to Trump’s rant, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei stressed that Washington’s problem with Iran has in fact nothing to do with the country’s nuclear program.

The Leader, who is the commander-in-chief of Iran’s Armed Forces, also said, “We accepted the JCPOA, but enmities with the Islamic Republic did not end. Now they raise the issue of our presence in the region and the issue of missiles. If we accept them too, they will bring up another issue.”

The Iranian defense minister further pledged, “We will work to improve our defense power on a daily basis and will upgrade our missile power as scheduled much to the dismay of this nation’s ill-wishers.”

The Iranian defense chief said Trump’s declaration is “nothing new,” adding that it has been a routine for the US to launch conspiracies against Iran over the past 40 years.

The minister said Iran’s position in the world today is one of “decisiveness and dignity,” which deserves special respect, adding that the country will never tolerate any act that violates its rights.

Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Ja’fari also downplayed Trump’s announcement on the JCPOA, saying the long-anticipated move once again showed that the US could not be trusted as a reliable negotiating partner.

This is no new development and will have no significant impact on Iran’s national interests, Ja’fari said Wednesday while addressing a gathering of conscripts in Tehran, according to IRGC’s official news service.

The commander, however, said Trump’s announcement made it more necessary for the Iranian Armed Forces to work towards the enhancement of the country’s defense sector.

“US withdrawal from the JCPOA proved that their real concern is the Islamic Republic’s defense and missile power and its role in the region,” he said.

Iran’s Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri also blasted Trump for his decision, saying Trump’s threat of tough sanctions against Iran is proof that the Americans are clueless how to deal with Iran’s increasing power.

“The enemies resorted to economic warfare when they had no option to launch a military one,” said Bagheri on Wednesday.

“Despite all threats and conspiracies by the enemies, we assured the government officials that security exists and they can follow up with the national development,” he added.

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