Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps on Thursday vowed to accelerate its controversial ballistic missile program, a day after the US urged the international community to follow the Trump administration’s footsteps and confront Iran over its “destructive conduct” across the Middle East.
“Iran’s ballistic missile program will expand and it will continue with more speed in reaction to Trump’s hostile approach towards this revolutionary organization,” the IRGC said in a statement published by the semi-official Tasnim news agency and translated by Reuters.
The Guard’s statement also blamed the “Zionist regime” along with the White House for implementing “devastating” policies in the region.
On Wednesday, US Ambassador Nikki Haley urged the UN Security Council to adopt the Trump administration’s tough approach to Iran and address all aspects of its “destructive conduct” — not just the 2015 nuclear deal. The Trump administration has threatened to label the IRGC, a hardline militant organization that operates outside the Iranian army at the behest of the country’s supreme leader, as a terror group.
Haley told the council that Iran “has repeatedly thumbed its nose” at council resolutions aimed at addressing Iranian support for terrorism and regional conflicts and has illegally supplied weapons to Yemen and Hezbollah militants in Syria and Lebanon.
“Worse, the regime continues to play this council,” Haley said. “Iran hides behind its assertion of technical compliance with the nuclear deal while it brazenly violates the other limits of its behavior, and we have allowed them to get away with it.”
“This must stop,” she said at the council’s monthly meeting on the Mideast and the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Haley cited a long list of Iranian violations, including threatening freedom of navigation in the Gulf, cyberattacks, imprisonment of journalists and other foreigners, and abuses of its people by persecuting some religions and imprisoning gays and lesbians.
She called Iran’s “most threatening act its repeated ballistic missile launches including the launch this summer of an ICBM enabling missile.”
“This should be a clarion call to everyone in the United Nations,” Haley said. “When a rogue regime starts down the path of ballistic missiles, it tells us that we will soon have another North Korea on our hands.”
Trump’s refusal last week to re-certify the nuclear deal has sparked a new war of words between Iran and the United States, fueling growing mistrust and a sense of nationalism among Iranians.
Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union — the other parties to the nuclear accord — all have been urging Trump’s administration not to abandon the accord.
Trump has yet to announce a withdrawal from the pact, instead kicking it to Congress for a decision.