The Wall Street Journal reports: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered his defense minister to expedite Iran’s ballistic-missile program following newly planned U.S. sanctions, he said Thursday, casting fresh doubt on the implementation of a landmark nuclear accord reached in July.
Mr. Rouhani made the announcement on his official Twitter account, without elaborating on what steps he had ordered Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan to take.
“If [the] U.S. continues its illegitimate interference [with] Iran’s right to defend itself a new program will be devised to enhance missile capabilities,” Mr. Rouhani tweeted.
“We have never negotiated regarding our defense capabilities, including our missile program & will not accept any restrictions in this regard,” he said.
An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said earlier Thursday that Iran considered any new U.S. sanctions on its ballistic-missile program illegal and would respond accordingly.
“Such actions are unilateral, arbitrary and illegal and the Islamic Republic of Iran has warned the U.S. in this respect,” said spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
The Obama administration is planning new sanctions on Iran, targeting almost a dozen companies and individuals in Iran, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates, U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. The planned action by the Treasury Department is targeted at businesses and individuals for their alleged role in developing Iran’s ballistic-missile program and would represent the first new sanctions on Iran since six world powers, including the U.S., reached the nuclear deal with Tehran. [Continue reading…]