Skip to main content

Iran vows to boost missiles despite pressure

Iran’s defense minister pledged a more vigorous pursuit of the Islamic Republic’s missile activities, shrugging Western worries about the controversial program.
Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami attends the VII Moscow Conference on International Security MCIS-2018, Moscow, Russia, April 4, 2018.

In yet another statement of defiance, Iran expressed dogged resolve to press ahead with its missile program, which its Western adversaries consider as “destabilizing."

“We will continue to seek our utmost goals in our missiles and defenses,” declared Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami as he outlined Iran’s defense strategy in the new Persian year starting March 20. In his virtual address March 18 to senior defense officials, Hatami noted that the Islamic Republic will do so as it continues to face challenges in the region.

The comments came only three days after the naval force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) unveiled what it called a "missile city." The underground facility is hosting ballistic and cruise missiles as well as electronic warfare equipment. But according to the IRGC commander, what was displayed at the site represented only a “small portion” of the IRGC navy’s “far-reaching and enormous missile power.” 

In his speech, the Iranian defense minister enumerated a series of key events in the region over the past two years, which he described as “malicious plots” aimed at “defeating the Islamic Republic.” Hatami referred to the killing of Iran’s top commander Qasem Soleimani in neighboring Iraq and that of Iran’s top missile man and nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh well inside Iranian soil. “We did realize that all those plots failed and the current overall situation in the region has turned against the interests of the United States and its regional subordinates.”

Hatami did not clarify further how those developments have undermined the United States. Yet attacks attributed to Iran-backed armed Shiite groups in Iraq targeting US interests have seen an uptick in recent months. And in Yemen, the pro-Iran militias have launched projectiles toward Saudi military bases and oil facilities. The United States and Saudi Arabia have alleged that the weapons used by those groups are supplied by the Islamic Republic. Tehran categorically denies the charge but argues that such attacks are a form of “legitimate defense” put up by the armed groups.

The defense minister’s speech fell within a wider pattern of Iran’s official line that its missiles are not up for negotiations. Western states, on the other hand, insist that Tehran needs to sit at the table and soothe their concerns.

The missile program is one of few foreign policy matters on which Iran’s rival political factions have broad consensus. That could mean Iran will continue to hold on tight to its missiles regardless of who sits in the presidential office in Tehran. And the tug of war between the West and the Islamic Republic over the latter’s missiles may even further intensify after June, when the pro-engagement President Hassan Rouhani is to be replaced with a successor, who could rise from the less accommodating hard-line camp.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

The Middle East in your inbox Insights in your inbox.

Deepen your knowledge of the Middle East

Trend Reports

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (4th R) attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd L) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 22, 2019. (Photo by HOW HWEE YOUNG / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read HOW HWEE YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

From roads to routers: The future of China-Middle East connectivity

A general view shows the solar plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh, on March 29, 2018. - On March 27, Saudi announced a deal with Japan's SoftBank to build the world's biggest solar plant. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Regulations on Middle East renewable energy industry starting to take shape

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial