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Iran defies US by unveiling latest missile during military parade


Iran's president Hassan Rouhani (AP)

Iran's president Hassan Rouhani (AP)

Iran's president Hassan Rouhani (AP)

Iran has unveiled its latest ballistic missile capable of reaching much of the Middle East, including Israel, while the president vowed to press ahead with its missile programme in defiance of US demands.

The unveiling by the Revolutionary Guard 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 programme 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 1,250 miles, had been displayed in public.

In February, Iran test-fired the same medium-range type of missile, prompting Mr Trump to say the US was "putting Iran on notice".

He has vowed repeatedly to take a tougher line towards Tehran 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 US naval vessels in the Persian Gulf.

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

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President Hassan Rouhani addressed the parade in Tehran, saying Iran would not halt its missile programme and would continue to boost military capabilities.

"We will strengthen our defence and military capabilities ... whether you want it or not," he said in a direct response to Mr Trump's speech at the UN General Assembly this week.

He added: "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 US-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 Nations, Mr Trump accused Iran of supporting terrorists and called Tehran a "corrupt dictatorship" and a "murderous regime".

Speaking a day later, Mr Rouhani said the Iranian people were waiting for an apology from Mr Trump for his "extremely offensive" rhetoric and "unfounded" allegations about Iran.


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