Iran Vows To Keep Cranking Out Missiles As Trump Eyes Killing Nuke Deal

A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location, Iran, March 9, 2016. Picture's authenticity could not be verified and may have been doctored by original source. REUTERS/Mahmood Hosseini/TIMA

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed to continue Iran’s ballistic missile program Sunday in a major rebuke of demands set forth by the Trump administration regarding the 2015 nuclear deal.

“We have built, are building and will continue to build missiles, and this violates no international agreements,” Rouhani defiantly declared in a speech to the Parliament.

President Donald Trump de-certified Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal to Congress in mid-October amidst a broader strategy to reign in the country’s potential nuclear ambitions, its malign activity in the Middle East, and its ballistic missile program.

Trump and other critics of the Iran deal have repeatedly emphasized the folly in signing a nuclear agreement, which stops development of nuclear material but places no restrictions on the regime’s ability to build advanced missiles for that exact purpose. Iran maintains its ballistic missile tests are not capable of carrying nuclear weapons — a claim experts dispute.

“Iran’s missile program is widely believed to be a delivery system for nuclear warheads. If Iran were telling the truth, it would be the only nation in history without a nuclear-weapons program that nonetheless developed missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers or more. Iran is not building long-range missiles to carry warheads full of dynamite or to fire monkeys into space,” former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz said in National Review in April 2016.

De-certification of the deal will trigger a 60-day period of review by Congress to determine if sanctions should be reimposed on the regime. Secretary of State Tillerson justified Trump’s decision by noting that the president must certify to Congress every 90 days under the Iran Nuclear Review Act of 2015 that sanctions relief is “proportionate” to the limit on the regime’s nuclear program.

During the 60-day period of review by Congress, Trump will recommend that Congress amend the Iran Nuclear Review Act of 2015 and “place some very firm trigger points” on the regime’s behavior. These trigger points include the regime’s ballistic missile program.

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Saagar Enjeti
the authorSaagar Enjeti
National Security/Foreign Policy Reporter

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