Iran on Wednesday called on European leaders to oppose President Trump's call for new restrictions on Iran's ballistic missile program.
"[The European Union] should stand against US measures," Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday in remarks carried by state media and on Twitter. "They should avoid meddling into our defense matters. We won't accept EU siding with US bully."
Khamenei's message was a rejection of the policy President Trump outlined last week. Trump threatened to "cancel" the Iran nuclear agreement unless Congress and European allies can develop a plan to curb the regime's nuclear program and regional aggression. Iran's ballistic missile development is a key issue for Trump's team and lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who hope to bring new pressure to bear on the program without scuttling the nuclear deal.
"West has no right to ask why Iran is present in region, or why Iran has missiles," Khamenei tweeted in response. "Not their business! Why do you have missiles?"
In state-run media, he added the question, "Why do you have atomic bombs?"
A key pair Senate Republicans are drafting legislation that would require the president to impose sanctions on Iran if the regime's nuclear program advances to the point that it could obtain a nuclear weapon within a year's time. Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., hopes to get significant Democratic support for the proposal, which could otherwise be blocked by a filibuster.
"A big part of this being successful will be the administration's efforts diplomacy-wise with our European allies," the Tennessee Republican told reporters Tuesday. "That is something that has got to take place or many of our Democratic colleagues are not going to be willing come along."
If that doesn't happen, Trump has warned that he will renew the sanctions that former President Obama waived when the nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was implemented.
"It is under continuous review, and our participation can be cancelled by me, as president, at any time," Trump said Friday.
Khamenei countered that Iran would not remain in the deal with European countries such as Germany and France if Trump were to renew the sanctions. "We won't tear the JCPOA up, as long as the other side doesn't, but if they do, we will shred it," he said.