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Iran to continue pace of missile program amidst US pressure

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Tehran: Iran’s defence minister said on Friday that despite the US pressures, Iran will not slow down the pace of development in its missile program.

“We will vigorously press ahead with the development of missile capabilities within the framework of the country’s defense policies,” brigadier general Hossein Dehqan was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

“There has been no interruption in the process of designing and manufacturing defensive ballistic missiles,” Dehqan said, adding that the Iranian armed forces will employ all indigenous potential and equipment to strengthen the country’s defense power, regardless of what foreigners say or do.

Besides, deputy commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) brigadier general Hossein Salami reiterated on Friday that Iran will not hesitate a moment to develop its deterrent power against the threats posed by the hegemonic powers.

“We will not stop developing our defense and deterrent power and this is a demand by the Muslim nation of Iran,” Salami said.

The remarks by Iranian military officials followed Thursday’s letter of President Hassan Rouhani to Defense Ministry to proceed with the country’s missile program “with high speed and seriously” and expand Iran’s missile capabilities in response to the US considered sanctions.

Rouhani’s remarks, in turn, were a response to the US Treasury Department’s recent announcement that it was considering sanctions against a number of Iranian and international individuals and agencies for their alleged involvement in developing Iran’s ballistic missile programme.

The new US move to add individuals and companies to the sanction list is a response to Iran’s recent test of a ballistic missile.

In October, Iran announced the tests of the long-range Emad missile which could be guided and controlled until hitting the target with high precision.

A UN experts’ report in December said that Iran violated UN Security Council Resolution 1929 by test-firing the Emad missile which is capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

The UN report said the Emad ballistic missile has a range of “no less than 1,000 km with a payload of at least 1,000 kg”.

Under Resolution 1929, Iran is prohibited from working on ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads. (IANS), (image courtesy:rnw.nl)

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China, US Set To Take Action Against Each Other

US business executives are now bracing for further retaliation from China due to Meng's arrest

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USA, China,
President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping during their bilateral meeting, Dec. 1, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. VOA

China and the US are set to take action against each other as tensions escalate over trade, cyber hacking and espionage as senior American law enforcement officials identified Beijing as the most serious threat to Washington’s national security, officials said.

China’s methods of non-traditional espionage, including their use of ordinary Chinese expatriates instead of spies at universities and businesses, and intellectual property theft, were explained by the officials from the FBI and Departments of Justice and Homeland Security who briefed US lawmakers on Wednesday, CNN reported.

“As the US proceeds a whole of society response to this threat, we must address the vulnerabilities within our system while preserving our values and the open, free and fair principles that have made us thrive,” E.W. Priestap, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Assistant Director of Counter-intelligence told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“What hangs in the balance is not just the future of the US, but the future of the world.”

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) top national security official told lawmakers on Wednesday the administration was reacting to China’s “steadily increasing” economic espionage activity, which costs the US an estimated $225 billion a year.

From 2011 to 2018, more than 90 per cent of the DOJ’s cases alleging economic espionage by a state have involved China, and more than two-thirds of trade secret thefts have a nexus to China, Assistant Attorney General John Demers said.

Donald Trump, democrats, government,, pakistan
U.S. President Donald Trump. VOA

“From underwater drones and autonomous vehicles to critical chemical compounds and inbred corn seeds, China has targeted advanced technology across sectors that align with China’s publicly announced strategic goals,” Demers said. “The play book is simple: rob, replicate and replace.”

Priestap and his colleagues testified hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed in an interview with Fox News that the US believes Beijing was behind the massive cyber-attack on the Marriott hotel chain, CNN reported.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the assault was part of a broader Chinese operation that also targeted health insurers and the security clearance files of millions of Americans.

Also Read- Bug Spotted in Microsoft Office 365, Outlook

Those disclosures came a day after President Donald Trump said that he would be willing to use Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Meng Wanzhou who was arrested in Canada for violating US sanctions on Iran as a bargaining chip in his trade war with Beijing, which for now is in a 90-day pause.

A Canadian judge on Tuesday night granted Meng a $7.5 million bail, while she awaits extradition to the US.

US business executives are now bracing for further retaliation from China due to Meng’s arrest. (IANS)