May 22, 2017 / 1:57 PM / in 6 months

Rouhani says Iran's ballistic missile program will continue: TV

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday Tehran would continue its ballistic missile program, state television reported, striking a defiant note after strong criticism of the Islamic Republic from U.S. President Donald Trump.

FILE PHOTO: A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location, Iran, March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mahmood Hosseini/TIMA

“The Iranian nation has decided to be powerful. Our missiles are for peace and for defense ... American officials should know that whenever we need to technically test a missile, we will do so and will not wait for their permission,” Rouhani said in a news conference, broadcast live on state TV.

Rouhani also criticized Iran’s arch-foe Saudi Arabia over its lack of democracy, urging Riyadh to allow its people to decide their country’s fate through free elections.

Additional reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Gareth Jones

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