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Iran Vows To Continue Missile Tests Despite UN Chief's Criticism

Iran pledged to continue its ballistic missile program after the United Nations said its missile tests are at odds with the country's landmark nuclear deal with world powers.

"Iran will strongly continue its missile program based on its own defense and national security calculations," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said in comments published on the ministry's website on July 9.

Ghasemi said Iran's missile program is not linked to the nuclear deal and denied that it violates the UN Security Council resolution endorsing the agreement.

The statement came after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon urged Tehran to stop conducting ballistic missile launches.

"I am concerned that those ballistic missile launches are not consistent with the constructive spirit demonstrated by the signing" of the deal, he said in his first report to the UN Security Council on the deal's implementation.

Ban warned that Iran's missile tests could increase tensions in the Middle East.

His report stopped short of calling the missile launches a "violation" of the UN resolution carrying out the nuclear deal, a determination he said was up to the Security Council.

The United States and its allies have called the tests a UN sanctions violation, but Russia and China have blocked attempts to punish Iran for it.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters