Iran’s President Orders Stepped-Up Missile Production

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -

President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday ordered the accelerated production of missiles in response to possible new U.S. sanctions.

In a letter to the defense minister published on the president’s website, Rouhani said Iran won’t accept any limitations on its missile program.

A senior U.S. official told the AP on Wednesday that America is considering designating a number of additional targets for sanctions related to Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Both the U.S. and Iran insist the missile program is not part of a landmark agreement Tehran reached with world powers in July that is to lift international sanctions in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program.

“Apparently, the U.S. government … is considering adding new individuals and institutions to the list of its previous oppressive sanctions,” Rouhani said in the letter. “It’s necessary to continue with greater speed and seriousness the plan for production of various missiles needed by the armed forces within the approved defense policies,” he wrote.

Rouhani added that the “development and production of Iran’s ballistic missiles, which have not been designed to carry nuclear warheads, are important conventional instruments to defend the country and will continue.”

Iran had earlier denied U.S. accusations that it launched a provocative rocket test last week near Western warships in the Strait of Hormuz, dismissing the claim as “psychological warfare.”