The annual U.N. General Assembly has generated sometimes powerful comments by world leaders on issues involving North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan and the flight of minority Muslims from Myanmar as more than 100 heads of state and government gather in New York.
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Iran unveiled a new medium-range ballistic missile on Friday as President Hassan Rouhani vowed that his country would defend itself at any cost from aggression by the United States and Israel.
Speaking at a military parade, Rouhani said Iran “will not ask for anyone’s permission to defend our land” and would continue to strengthen its missile program.
Rouhani’s comments, broadcast on the anniversary of Iraq's 1980 invasion of Iran, appeared to be aimed at President Trump, who sharply criticized Iran in a speech this week at the United Nations General Assembly.
Trump called on world powers to pressure Iran to stop developing missiles and cease supporting regional militant groups. U.S. officials say such “malign activities” go against the spirit of the 2015 agreement under which Iran won relief from international sanctions in exchange for shelving its nuclear program.
Trump has criticized the nuclear deal and said it must be strengthened, or the U.S. could walk away.
Rouhani described the U.S. and Israel as the main destabilizing forces in the Middle East and said the speech by Trump and a later address by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were a “clear indicator of the vicious nature” of the two countries, according to the Tasnim news agency.
His comments came as the Iranian military introduced a new ballistic missile with a 1,200-mile range, capable of reaching Israel and carrying multiple warheads.
Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the aerospace division of the elite Revolutionary Guards, said the defense ministry had manufactured the Khorramshahr missile and that it would soon become operational, Tasnim reported.