PHOTO: Revolutionary Guards deputy commander Hossein Salami “We cannot hide all our missiles”
Amid a new battle of words with the US, Iran sent out two different messages on Friday.
President Rouhani used Twitter to talk of reconciliation with his slogan of a World Against Violence and Extremism:
In #2016 let’s look for reasons to make peace–not excuses for hostility. I wish you all a year full of friendship & free of conflict. #WAVE
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) January 1, 2016
However, the Revolutionary Guards were not concerned with friendship. Instead, they used an introduction to the Tehran Friday Prayer to declare their capability to destroy enemies.
“We lack enough space in our stockpiles to house our missiles,” said the Guards’ Deputy Commander, General Hossein Salami. “Hundreds of long tunnels are full of missiles ready to fly to protect your integrity, independence and freedom.”
Tension flared on Wednesday when the Obama Administration informed the press that it was going to impose new sanctions over Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles.
The development of missiles is not covered by the July 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany), but UN Security Council resolutions since 2010 have maintained that “Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons”.
The Islamic Republic does not recognize the ban, and in October it conducted more testing of its Emad medium-range missile.
Orders to “Expedite” Missile Program
Responding on Thursday to the White House’s sanctions threat, Rouhani ordered the Defense Minister to “expedite” the ballistic missile program. He asserted, “We have never negotiated regarding our defense capabilities including our missile program and will not accept any restrictions in this regard.”
The Obama Administration stepped back on Thursday night from the new sanctions. However, Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan maintained on Friday that Iran will “forcefully continue boosting its missile capabilities within the framework of its defense policies”.
“In view of America’s recent hostile steps and the esteemed President’s emphasis, we will increase the speed and scope of our missile capabilities,” Dehghan said.
In a letter to President Rouhani, Mohsen Rezaei, the Secretary of the Expediency Council, called for an increase in the range of Iran’s missiles to 5,000 km (3,100 miles). He said this capability would cover US bases such as the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia.
The dispute and Iran’s defiance could delay implementation of the deal reached last summer after more than a decade of conflict over Iran’s nuclear program.
Trying to resolve Iran’s long-term economic problems, the Rouhani Government had hoped for verification of Iranian compliance with the agreement this month. That declaration by the International Atomic Energy Agency is required for the US and the European Union to begin lifting sanctions which have restricted Tehran’s oil exports, investment, production, and financial transactions.
Regime: Saudi Execution of Leading Cleric Will “Wipe It from Pages of History”
The Iranian regime has quickly condemned Saudi Arabia’s execution of 47 detainees, including leading Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, on Saturday.
The Supreme Leader’s office offered its reaction in the form of a poster comparing Saudi Arabia to the Islamic State: