Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed that the Islamic Republic would violate outstanding United Nations restrictions governing the country’s ballistic missile program and that the behavior would not violate the recent nuclear accord, according to a translation of the leader’s remarks performed by the CIA’s Open Source Center.
Iran is "not committed to the restrictions on its missile program," according to a recent comment made by Rouhani, who said a violation of international restrictions would not impact the nuclear accord recently reached with global powers.
"We have formally announced that we are not committed to these provisions [related to missiles] mentioned in [the] U.N. resolution," Rouhani was quoted as saying in an Aug. 29 Persian language speech broadcast on Iran’s state-controlled television networks.
It is written into the nuclear accord that a violation of U.N. bans on Iran’s missile program will not impact the deal.
Within the deal "we have explained that a violation of the U.N. resolution does not mean violation of the JCPOA," or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, according to Rouhani, who bragged that Iran’s missile stockpiles have grown under his tenure as president.
Critics of the accord have warned that Iran will bolster its missile arsenal and develop technology to launch a nuclear weapon.
Under the parameters of the deal, U.N. restrictions on Iran’s missile program will expire within the next decade.
Rouhani said Iran is not seeking technology to launch a nuclear warhead.
Rouhani went on to tout Iran’s defensive capabilities, saying that the country is prepared to defend itself from any potential attack.
"In general, we have increased our overall deterrence," Rouhani said. "However, in the defense area, in recent two years [of presidency], compared to the five or 10 years that preceded these years, there has been greater progress in the defense technology. Our military infrastructure has become stronger and our arsenal of equipment and weaponry has also increased."
Iran will continue to build arms and strengthen its military, Rouhani said.
"We should pursue deterrence in national power against various types of threats," he said. "Such deterrence can be in the area of military, rights, foreign policy, economic issues, etc."
Senior Obama administration officials stated before Congress that the U.S. would seek to constrain Iran’s ballistic missile program as part of the deal.
"It is true that in these first six months we’ve not shut down all of their production of any ballistic missile that could have anything to do with delivery of a nuclear weapon," lead U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman told lawmakers in February 2014. "But that is indeed something that has to be addressed as part of a comprehensive agreement."
That position shifted as the final details of the deal were worked out.
Pro-Tehran advocates, for instance, launched a lobbying campaign to pressure the Obama administration into dropping all restrictions on Iran’s program.
Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and expert on rogue regimes, said the Obama administration walked back many of its promises in pursuit of a final nuclear deal.
"Obama and Kerry violated well over a dozen red lines to reach a deal with Iran on everything from anytime, anywhere inspections to the underground facility at Fordow to Iran using a heavy water reactor," Rubin said. "Basically, every time the Iranians dug in their heels, Kerry caved. He might think such compromise is a path to peace, but to Iran it was weakness to exploit."
These concessions have emboldened the Iranians and led the regime to believe it can violate the deal without any serious repercussions, Rubin said.
"Rouhani sees Iran's commitments as an a la carte menu from which to pick and choose. Every senator who endorses this deal is, in effect, blessing a White House which will bend over backward to allow Iran to get its way," he said.