Tehran: Iran says it has built a third underground ballistic missiles factory, risking inflaming tensions with the US. The plant has been completed in the country in recent years, a military official revealed on Thursday.
It comes days after the White House called for newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani to end Iran’s ballistic missiles programme. On his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, US President Donald Trump also accused Iran of fuelling conflict and terrorism across the Middle East.
Announcing the news, General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ air force, said: “Step by step, we are developing our defensive capability and I announce today that in recent years we have built a third underground factory for the manufacture of missiles.”
Quoted by a semi-official news agency in Iran, General Hajizadeh added: “We are going to develop our ballistic power. “It’s normal that our enemies, that is to say the United States and Israel, are angry when we show off our underground missile bases because they want the Iranian people to be in a position of weakness.”
Mr Trump has been a consistent critic of Iran and, earlier this year, imposed fresh sanctions on the country following a ballistic missile test. At the time, the President accused Iran of “playing with fire”.
Last week, the Trump administration placed further penalties on the country prompting a tit-for-tat response from Iran. Iran has developed a number of types of ballistic missiles, with some powerful enough to reach both Israel and American military bases in the Middle East.
It is feared the missiles could carry nuclear weapons in the future, although Iran has continued to comply with the terms of a 2015 deal aimed at limiting its nuclear capabilities.
The agreement, struck by former US president Barack Obama, lifts sanctions on Iran in return for the country scaling down its enrichment of uranium.
Mr Trump has voiced his opposition to the nuclear deal and will review its future. Speaking in Israel on Monday, the US President claimed “Iran will never have nuclear weapons”.