Iran says it will not seek approval to acquire weapons, assures neighbors

Iran will not back down from acquiring weapons it deems necessary for defense nor will it seek “approval” from other countries, President Hassan Rouhani said during a televised speech Wednesday in Tehran.

Rouhani insisted that Iran had its own defense in mind and that neighboring countries need not be worried by its armed forces, Reuters reported.

“We tell the world that we will produce or acquire any weapons we need, and will not wait for their approval,” Rouhani said. “But at the same time we announce to our neighboring countries in the region…we do not intend any aggression against you.”

The speech, televised Wednesday on state-run media, coincided with National Army Day, a national holiday that has been celebrated every year since 1979.

Iran has been the subject of sanctions over its controversial nuclear weapons program.

In 2015, a deal was brokered between Iran and six world powers including the U.S., the U.K., Russia, France, China and Germany, establishing that the sanctions would be lifted if Iran scaled back its program.

In October 2017, President Trump accused Iran of multiple violations and has refused to renew the deal unless new restrictions are imposed by May 12.

“Iran will not violate the nuclear deal, but if the United States withdraws from the deal, they will surely regret it,” Rouhani said during a speech earlier in April. “Our response will be stronger than what they imagine and they would see that within a week.”

The U.S. has accused Iran of backing the Assad regime in Syria’s ongoing Civil War. On Saturday, a US-led missile attack on Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons brought swift condemnation from Iran.

Rouhani called the attack a “very ugly precedent” in international relations.