Iran’s defense capabilities are not negotiable, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday in remarks made previously but which now come amid increased pressure from the U.S. government over Tehran’s ballistic missile program.
According to Tasnim News, Khamenei categorically rejected the idea of negotiations on Iran’s defense power, stressing that the country will press ahead with the plans to boost its might and build up its defense capabilities.
“As we have announced several times in the past and announce it once again, the country’s defense capabilities and power are not subject to negotiations and bargaining. We will have no bargaining and dealing with the enemy over the country’s means of defense and over whatever provides or supports the national power,” Khamenei underscored.
Vowing Iran’s vigorous efforts to boost its power, he said the enemies attempt to counter Iran’s national might, because they see this as a nuisance.
“[It is not acceptable] that they say why you have such defensive weapon, why you produce it, why you research about it; we do not hold any negotiation with our enemy over what secures our national might. Today they say why your power has engulfed the entire region. They voice opposition to the development of the Islamic Republic’s power in the region and beyond the region because it is the country’s strategic depth. Our dear Iran once used to be humiliated under the boots of American, Zionist, and British advisors,” Ayatollah Khamenei noted, adding that the Islamic Republic made the country powerful.
Ties between Iran and the United States have deteriorated under U.S. President Donald Trump and suffered another deep blow two weeks ago when he decided not to certify that Tehran is complying with a 2015 nuclear pact and warning he might ultimately terminate it.
Iran has reacted defiantly, dismissing Trump’s demands for the pact to be toughened up. Last week, Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, the most powerful military force in the country, said its ballistic missile program would accelerate despite U.S. and European Union pressure to suspend it.
The ramping up of rhetoric on both sides has raised the specter of a possible military confrontation between the two countries. In recent months, small boats from the IRGC have swarmed close to American warships in the Gulf, prompting the U.S. navy to fire flares and warning shots.
“The adversaries are opposed to the enhancement of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s power in the region and beyond, because such power constitutes the “strategic depth of the Islamic Establishment,” Ayatollah Khamenei explained.
He also stressed the need for efforts to ensure economic security in Iran, saying such safety in the economic arena will not come true unless the country’s economy cuts dependence on the oil revenues.
Imam Khamenei has repeatedly stressed the need for strengthening the country’s military power and called on the Armed Forces to maintain a high level of preparedness.
Also in September, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani unveiled plans for a boost to the country’s military and defense power, including an enhancement of its missile program.
“We won’t ask for permission from anybody to defend our land,” the president said on September 22, saying Iran will boost not only its missile power, but also its Ground Force, Navy and Air Force.