In defiance to US, Iran unveils latest missile during parade

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Friday unveiled its latest ballistic missile capable of reaching much of the Middle East, including Israel, while the country’s president vowed that Tehran would press ahead with its missile program in defiance of U.S. demands to the contrary.

The unveiling came during a military parade in Tehran that commemorated the 1980s Iraq-Iran war.

The move was a direct challenge to President Donald Trump, who in August signed a bill imposing mandatory penalties on those involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them.

Though Iran has long boasted of having missiles in the same range in its arsenal, it was the first time that the Khoramshahr, with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) was displayed in public.

In February, Iran test-fired the same medium-range type of missile, prompting Trump to say that the United States is “putting Iran on notice.” Iran’s state TV aired footage late Friday it said showed a Khoramshahr medium-range ballistic missile being test fired. The report did not mention the time or location of the test.

Trump has vowed repeatedly to take a tougher line toward Iran than his predecessor, threatening at various times to renegotiate or even dismantle the nuclear deal, and shoot Iranian boats out of the water if they provoke U.S. naval vessels in the Persian Gulf.

Friday’s parade also showcased various Iranian army units and Revolutionary Guard forces, as well as the police. Similar parades were held in other Iranian cities.

Rouhani addressed the parade in Tehran, saying that Iran would not halt its missile program but continue to boost military capabilities, despite U.S. demands.

“We will strengthen our defense and military capabilities … whether you want it or not,” Rouhani said, a direct response to Trump’s speech at the U.N. General Assembly this week.

Rouhani added that “Iran’s military power lies in its commitment to never invade another country or land.”

He also said Tehran will keep supporting the “oppressed people of Yemen, Syria and Palestine” — a reference to Iran’s role in the wars in Yemen and Syria and its support for Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas.

Tehran has backed Yemen’s Shiite rebels known as Houthis against a U.S.-supported and Saudi-led coalition of mostly Arab states that seeks to return the internationally elected government to power in Yemen. In Syria, Iran is a close ally of President Bashar Assad.

In his speech at the United…

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