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Iran Vows to Boost Ballistic Capacity, Denies Deploying Missiles in Iraq

Iran Vows to Boost Ballistic Capacity, Denies Deploying Missiles in Iraq

Sunday, 2 September, 2018 - 09:15
Gholam Hossein Gheibparvar, commander of Iran's Basij. Asharq Al-Awsat
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Iran plans to boost its ballistic and cruise missile capacity and acquire new generation fighter planes and submarines, senior defense ministry official said.

“Increasing ballistic and cruise missile capacity ... and the acquisition of new generation fighters and heavy and long-range vessels and submarines with various weapons capabilities are among the new plans of this ministry,” said Mohammad Ahadi, Deputy Defense Minister for International Affairs, Reuters reported.

Speaking to Tehran-based foreign military attaches, Ahadi said international sanctions had not hampered the development of Iran’s arms industry.

He also defended Iran’s role in conflicts in Iraq and Syria: “If Iran and its allies in Syria and Iraq had not stopped ISIS, today the map of the region would be different and the world would face a terrible challenge,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

State media also reported earlier this week the launch of war games involving some 150,000 volunteer Basij militia members.

Meanwhile, Tehran rejected a Reuters report saying it had moved missiles into Iraq, following the US pullout from Tehran's nuclear agreement with world powers, Iranian state news agency IRNA said

IRNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi as saying: "Such false and ridiculous news has no purpose other than affecting Iran's foreign relations, especially with its neighbors.

"This news is solely aimed at creating fears in the countries of the region," Qassemi added.

Iranian, Iraqi and Western sources have told Reuters that Iran has given ballistic missiles to Shiite proxies in Iraq and is developing the capacity to build more there.

On the other hand, IRNA quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as telling reporters that it is time for the Europeans to act in addition to voicing their political commitment.

“These measures may be costly, but if countries want to reap benefits and if they believe the nuclear accord is an international achievement, they should be ready to keep these achievements,” he was quoted as saying.

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