Iran pushes back on Pompeo, says missile program is defensive

Iran pushes back on Pompeo, says missile program is defensive
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Iran on Sunday pushed back against Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoGOP-controlled Senate breaks with Trump on Saudi vote Hillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — Officials warn of threat from Chinese spying | China blamed for Marriott hack | Trump open to intervening in Huawei case | FCC mulls ending merger ban on 'Big Four' networks | California floats tax on texts Russia plans to pull bombers from Venezuela on Friday, White House says MORE's condemnation of its missile test, denying that Tehran is a breach of United Nations resolutions and saying it will continue such tests in the future.

“Missile tests ... are carried out for defense and the country’s deterrence, and we will continue this,” a spokesman for Iran's military, Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim news agency, Reuters reports.

“We will continue to both develop and test missiles. This is outside the framework of [nuclear] negotiations and part of our national security, for which we will not ask any country’s permission."

Pompeo on Saturday slammed Iran for the tests.

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"The Iranian regime has just test-fired a medium range ballistic missile that is capable of carrying multiple warheads," Pompeo said in a statement. "The missile has a range that allows it to strike parts of Europe and anywhere in the Middle East."

He added that the test "violates UN Security Council resolution 2231 that bans Iran from undertaking ‘any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology."

"As we have been warning for some time, Iran’s missile testing and missile proliferation is growing. We are accumulating risk of escalation in the region if we fail to restore deterrence," Pompeo said.

"We condemn these activities, and call upon Iran to cease immediately all activities related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons."

White House national security adviser John Bolton also said Saturday that Iran's behavior would not be tolerated.

"Iran just test-fired an INF range ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel and Europe. This provocative behavior cannot be tolerated," he tweeted.

Tensions between Washington and Iran have increased since President TrumpDonald John TrumpActivists highlight Trump ties to foreign autocrats in hotel light display Jose Canseco pitches Trump for chief of staff: ‘Worried about you looking more like a Twinkie everyday’ Dershowitz: Mueller's report will contain 'sins' but no 'impeachable offense' MORE withdrew the U.S. from the Obama-era nuclear pact.

Last month, the Trump administration completed reimplementing sanctions on Iran that had been lifted.

Last Thursday, the administration floated the use of military action against Iran, should sanctions fail to keep Tehran from funneling weapons to hostile groups in the gulf region.