The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed this week that Iran has tripled its production of missiles, according to a report by state-run Iranian Press TV.
“Today, despite the hostilities and the measures taken by the global arrogance and enemies, [the number of] those defending the development of the defense [sector] in the country has increased, and that the government, the parliament and everyone else stand united regarding the missile issue, particularly the ground-to-ground missiles,” Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC aerospace division, said. “Our [missile] products have increased three-fold compared to the past,” he said.
The statement was allegedly made in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s vow to walk away from the JCPOA nuclear deal signed in July 2015, unless America’s European partners in the agreement find a way to make significant amendments, and Iran agrees to abide by them.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted Monday, “US & Europeans should stop pouring hundreds of billions of dollars of weapons into our region instead of questioning Iran’s missiles. Not restricted by UNSC, but necessary to deter repeat of our people’s suffering when Saddam—with western support—showered us with missiles.”
IRGC second in command, Deputy Commander Hossein Salami declared Monday that Iran will not negotiate with any world power over its missile capability, claiming its ballistic missile program is for purely defensive purposes.
Salami said Iran’s missile power was “non-negotiable and unstoppable,” and that “no country has the ability to exert control over Iran’s defense power.” He said ‘hostile powers’ should “accept the reality of Iran’s emergence as a power with logic and credibility in the field of deterrence.”
Likewise, Iranian military spokesperson General Masoud Jazayeri was quoted Monday by the semi-official FARS news agency as saying that Tehran would relinquish its missiles when the West gives up nuclear arms. “The country’s defense capabilities will continue non-stop and foreigners do not have the right to enter this field,” he said.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was in Iran on Monday for meetings with Zarif as well as Iranian military leaders.
The French diplomat was greeted with newspaper headlines that called him “Trump’s Parisian servant” and did not meet with anyone from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which runs the ballistic missile program and which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Le Drian did, however, meet with the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, former Iran Naval Chief Ali Shamkhani – who wore his military uniform to the meeting despite being a retired officer, ABC News reported. The French diplomat’s mission was complicated by the presence of French companies who entered the Iranian market after the signing of the JCPOA, complicating any possibility of France imposing significant sanctions.