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Iran says it will continue missile tests despite US allegation

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FILE PHOTO: A display featuring missiles and a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran September 27, 2017. REUTERS

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran has said it would continue missile tests to build up its defences and denied this was in breach of UN resolutions following US allegations that Tehran had tested a new missile capable of carrying multiple warheads.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has condemned what he called Iran’s testing of a medium-range ballistic missile in violation of the 2015 international agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme, from which Washington has withdrawn.

“Missile tests … are carried out for defence and the country’s deterrence, and we will continue this,” Brigadier- General Abolfazl Shekarchi, spokesman for Iran’s armed forces, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

“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,” Mr Shekarchi said.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi also said Iranian missiles were purely defensive and added: “There is no Security Council resolution prohibiting missile programme and missile tests by Iran.”

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, taking a shot at the US, tweeted: “While (the United States) itself violates (UN Security Council resolution) 2231 – and even threatens to punish those who don’t wish to violate it in abiding with illegal US sanctions – it now falsely accuses Iran of violating the very same resolution.”

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