Iran Military Leaders: Missile Production 'Increased' After P5+1 Deal
As some congressional Democrats fume over the Obama administration's reticence to confront Iran about its ballistic missile tests -- nevermind introduce any real consequences -- the Islamic Republic is defiantly expanding its missile programs.
Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said at a ceremony in northern Iran on Monday that Tehran is not scaling back its program or even keeping production at pre-deal levels.
"We have not halted designing, producing and testing our missiles, (on the contrary) we have even increased our production," Dehqan said, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.
The news agency said the defense minister ranked missile production and military upgrades at the top of the country's agenda "to ensure protection against enemies."
On Tuesday, the second-highest-ranking commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps said that "anti-Iran resolutions" would have no bearing on the IRGC's determination to increase its “defense and deterrent power.”
Brigadier General Hossein Salami stressed “this is an independent and a national decision and has nothing to do with the resolutions," according to Iran Press TV.
Last week, 21 Senate Democrats asked President Obama to not ignore Iran's second ballistic missile test, which was conducted in November.
"If there are no consequences for this violation, Iran’s leaders will certainly also question the willingness of the international community to respond to violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and UN Security Council Resolution 2231," the Dems note in the letter sent to the president.
"The November test is Iran’s second recent violation of UNSCR 1929, which clearly states 'Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology.' Clearly, the Security Council should take appropriate enforcement action against Iran in the face of this violation. On this matter, we recognize and appreciate United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power’s ongoing efforts to build support to enforce consequences for the October 10 ballistic missile test by referring the issue to the Iran Sanctions Committee and advocating for a forceful response by the UN Security Council. However, in the time it took the Panel of Experts to make a determination on the first violation, Iran tested another ballistic missile."
Two of the senators on that letter, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), voted against the Iran nuclear deal.
Another vocal opponent of the deal, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), fired off his own warning to Obama about Iran's violations and the International Atomic Energy Agency closing its Iran file.