Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in what appeared to be a defiant message to President Trump, said Saturday that Tehran will seek “no one’s permission” to build missiles.
“The strengthening of the capability of the Iranian armed forces … is only for defending the country and we will ask no one’s permission to build up the armed forces, and to build missiles and aircraft,” Rouhani said at an event showcasing some of Iran’s military hardware, according to Reuters.
He added that Iran never had “”aggressive aims, but peace is not a one-way road and if we decide to be peaceful the other party … may not. So there is a need for vigilance.”
Rouhani’s comments come more than a week after the U.S. fired nearly 60 tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base which was where jets from Bashar al-Assad’s regime took off to initiate a gas attack in a Syrian town. Rouhani reportedly called the strike a “blatant violation” of Syrian sovereignty.
The Iranian president is also facing reelection in which he needs to ramp up his rhetoric against the West in the face of critics who accused him of being too eager to appear world powers after the landmark deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
Trump had criticized the nuclear deal during his election and had vowed to put an end to Iran’s missile program. Trump said in January Iran was “playing with fire” after the country tested a new ballistic missile.