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Rouhani vows to boost, not abandon missiles despite Western concerns

Iran's Rouhani unveils new Fateh-313 missile in 2015 [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 September, 2018

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Iran's president made the remarks during a military parade on the anniversary marking the start of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
President Hassan Rouhani vowed on Saturday to boost Iran's ballistic missile capabilities and said that the US will fail in its confrontation with Tehran.

Rouhani made the remarks on the anniversary of the start of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

"The same will happen to Trump. America will suffer the same fate as Saddam Hussein," Rouhani said.

"We will never decrease our defensive capabilities... we will increase them day by day ... The fact that the missiles anger you (Donald Trump) shows they are our most effective weapons," he added.

Iran has ballistic missiles with a range of up to 3,500 kilometres (2,200 miles), enough to reach both Israel and US bases in the Middle East.

Iran's missile programme is a major bone of contention with world powers, particularly the US, but is seen by Iran as vital to its security and defence. 

President Donald Trump, who pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and world powers in May, has called for a new agreement that restricts Iran's missile capabilities and regional interventions.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have ramped up since the US pulled out of the 2015 nuclear accord and reimposed sanctions on Iran. 

During Rouhani's remarks on Saturday, about 600 naval vessels took part in a military parade in the port of Bandar Abbas. 

Tehran has suggested in recent weeks it could take action to block oil exports of other countries in the Persian Gulf if Washington tries to halt its ability to export oil.

A second set of US sanctions targeting Iran's oil sector are set to take effect on 4 November.  

US officials have previously said they want to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero.  

The Trump administration has said the reimposition of sanctions are not intended to achieve regime change, but to get Iran to "behave like a normal country". 

However, several of Trump's top administration officials - including National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - have previously called for regime change in Iran.

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