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Iran to expand missile program after threats of U.S. sanctions

By Amy R. Connolly   |   Jan. 1, 2016 at 10:22 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Iran's President Hassan Rouhani ordered his Defense Ministry to expand the country's ballistic missile program after reports the United States is threatening additional economic sanctions.

Rouhani instructed Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqhan "to quickly and firmly continue with plans to produce different missiles needed by the country's armed forces," the Islamic Republic News Agency reported. The comments come one day after the White House sent Congress a draft proposal of new financial sanctions against Iran over recent missile testing, a possible violation of a United Nations Security Council prohibition.

No sanctions are imminent. Tehran said it will not back down on munitions development.

"Given the current circumstances in the region and the world, we believe peace and security can only be achieved through strength," Dehqhan said. "Therefore, we are going to expand our missiles in terms of range and accuracy."

Rouhani comments come as tensions between the U.S. and Iran increase and after an international agreement reached in July to restrict Iran's nuclear activities.

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