DUBAI Jan 18 Iran on Monday said new U.S. curbs
on the Islamic Republic's ballistic missile programme were
illegitimate, vowing to continue developing its conventional
The United States imposed sanctions on 11 companies and
individuals on Sunday for supplying Iran's ballistic missile
programme in a move delayed by over two weeks so as not to
endanger this weekend's release of U.S. prisoners.
The new measures also came after the lifting of far more
comprehensive nuclear sanctions.
"The Islamic Republic will respond to these aggravating and
propagandistic measures by pursuing its legal missile programme
stronger than before and developing its defensive capabilities,"
a foreign ministry statement said.
Iran conducted a ballistic missile test in October, which
the United Nations called a breach of a resolution prohibiting
the Islamic Republic from developing missiles capable of
delivering nuclear warheads. Iran insists the missile was
designed to carry a conventional payload.
Foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari said
Washington's sales of weaponry to allies in the Middle East,
worth tens of billions of dollars each year, was used to commit
"war crimes against Palestinian, Lebanese and most recently
"The U.S. sanctions against Iran's ballistic missile
programme ... have no legal or moral legitimacy," he said.
Hardline newspapers Kayhan and Vatan-e-Emrooz splashed the
news on their front pages, crowding out a triumphal speech by
President Hassan Rouhani, who on Sunday hailed the lifting of
the nuclear sanctions.
"Sanctions are back!" ran the Kayhan headline. The article
pointed out that Tehran's top authority, Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had said new sanctions under any pretext
would constitute a breach of the nuclear deal.
(Reporting by Sam Wilkin; Additional reporting by Bozorgmehr
Sharafedin; Editing by William Maclean and Toby Chopra)