Europe’s attempts to limit Iran’s ballistic missile program will never become reality, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said, adding that Tehran has no plans to limit is influence across the Middle East, either.
“Some Europeans are talking about limiting our defensive missile program. I am telling the Europeans: Limiting our missile development is a dream that will never come true,” Khamenei said, in a televised speech at a large gathering to mark the 29th anniversary of the death of 1979 Iranian Revolution leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
In May, US President Donald Trump pulled the US from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers. He called the accord (which saw Iran curbing its nuclear military program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions) deeply flawed and wanted a deal that would both limit Tehran’s ballistic missile program and its increasing influence in regional affairs.
The EU has been trying to save the nuclear deal, after the US withdrawal startled the bloc. However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron tend to agree with Trump that talks with Iran must be broadened in order to cover missiles and Tehran’s international activities.
Iran’s Shahab 3 missiles can reportedly travel 2,000 kilometers and potentially reach southern Europe, with Iran saying the range may be increased if its security is jeopardized.
“Tehran will attack ten times more if attacked by enemies,” who “don’t want an independent Iran in the region,” Khamenei said. As for curbing Iran’s international influence, the supreme leader stressed that “we will continue our support for oppressed nations.”
Tehran is actively involved in regional affairs; it helped Syria in its fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and other terrorist groups with weapons and manpower. The West also blames the country for supporting Palestinian armed group Hamas, Lebanese Hezbollah and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
“Our enemies have staged economic and psychological … warfare against us, and new American sanctions [reinstated after Trumps’ withdrawal from JCPOA] are part of it,” Khamenei said. The supreme leader also said that “some regional countries act like their own people’s enemies” presumably referring to Saudi Arabia and other US allies in the Gulf, urging the “young Arabs… to take action and the initiative to control your own future.”