Iran’s top leader pledges to continue missile program

Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (AP)
Updated 03 August 2017

Iran’s top leader pledges to continue missile program

TEHRAN: Iran’s supreme leader has slammed the new US sanctions on Tehran signed by President Donald Trump the previous day, and vowed his country would continue its missile program despite international pressure.
Washington will “use any excuse to make a fuss” against Iran, said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, speaking at a ceremony marking the formal endorsement of President Hassan Rouhani for his second term in office.
“You launch a satellite-carrying missile, they make noise,” he said, describing the Iranian launch as a “scientific and technical job that is routine and necessary.”
“The response to the hostility is to become stronger,” Khamenei added and described the US government as “the top aggressor and the most shameless “enemy of Iran.
“Some have sharply applied hostility (against Iran), like those who today are in office in the US,” Khamenei said, without mentioning Trump or the US president’s signing of the legislation on Wednesday.
The law also imposed new sanctions on Russia and North Korea.
According to a letter sent to the UN Security Council and obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, the US and three Western allies called Iran’s recent launch of a satellite-carrying rocket “a threatening and provocative step” that is “inconsistent” with a UN resolution endorsing the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
Iran last week launched the country’s most advanced satellite-carrying rocket into space, marking the most significant step forward for the Islamic State’s young space program.
In the letter to the Security Council, the US, France, Germany and the United Kingdom complained that the Simorgh space launch vehicle, if configured as a ballistic missile, would have the range and “payload capacity to carry a nuclear warhead.”
EU remarks
The EU said Thursday that all the parties to the Iran nuclear deal were abiding by its terms.
“So far we consider that all parties have been implementing their commitments under the deal,” Catherine Ray, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, told a press briefing in Brussels.
“We expect their continued adherence,” Ray said when asked to comment on the Iranian charges.
Ray based her expectation on a July 21 meeting in Vienna of the Mogherini-chaired commission that brings together Iran and the other parties to discuss the deal’s implementation.
Mogherini’s office issued a statement at the time saying the meeting’s participants confirmed their continued adherence and “stressed the need to ensure its full and effective implementation in a constructive atmosphere.”
Ray said the joint commission allowed for the Iranian view on new US sanctions to be widely discussed.
On Tuesday, Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani announced that Tehran has officially complained to the UN Security Council over the latest US sanctions.
Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, said Iran should continue to stand powerful in the face of its enemies.
“International engagement should not lead to ignoring hostility of the enemies,” Khamenei said at the ceremony, broadcast live on state TV.
He added that “despite all the sanctions and enmities, the Islamic Republic is stronger” than before.
Rouhani said the nuclear deal has been a sign of “good faith” by Iran and that it brought the nation respite from most difficult UN sanctions.
“Transition from the most difficult sanctions was achieved through a combination of the power of diplomacy and deterrent defensive power,” said Rouhani.
He said that in his second term in office, Iran will “insist on constructive engagement with the world more than before.”
Earlier Thursday, the state TV website quoted deputy foreign minister and senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi as saying that Iran will come up with a “smart” reaction to the last US sanctions.
Araghchi reiterated Iran’s stance that the US legislation signed by Trump amounts to a “hostile” breach of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.


Iranian wedding party fueled new COVID-19 surge, President Rouhani says

Updated 06 June 2020

Iranian wedding party fueled new COVID-19 surge, President Rouhani says

  • New cases dipped to 2,886 on Friday, bringing Iran’s total cases to more than 167,000, with over 8,000 deaths
  • Health officials have been warning of a second wave of the outbreak, but say a reason for the surge in new cases could be wider testing

DUBAI: A wedding party contributed to a new surge in coronavirus infections in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday but insisted the country had no option but to keep its economy open despite warnings of a second wave of the epidemic.
Iran, which has been gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April, has reported a sharp rise of new daily infections in recent days. Thursday’s toll of 3,574 new cases was the highest since February, when the outbreak was first reported.
“At one location, we witnessed a peak in this epidemic, the source of which was a wedding that caused problems for the people, health workers and losses to the economy and the country’s health system,” Rouhani said on state TV. He did not say when or where the wedding took place.
New cases dipped to 2,886 on Friday, bringing Iran’s total cases to more than 167,000, with over 8,000 deaths.
Health officials have been warning of a second wave of the outbreak, but say a reason for the surge in new cases could be wider testing. One official said about 70% of the new cases in Tehran were among those who had traveled outside the capital in recent days.
Iran has been struggling to curb the spread of COVID-19 but authorities are concerned that measures to limit public and economic life to contain the virus could wreck an already economy already reeling under international sanctions.
“In these circumstances, we have no other choice — that is, there is no second option,” Rouhani added. “We have to work, our factories have to be active, our shops have to be open, and there has to be movement in the country as far as it is necessary.”
Iranian universities reopened on Saturday after being closed for more than three and a half months, state media reported. Nurseries will reopen in a week’s time, when Qur'an and languages classes will also resume, Rouhani said.