Iranian officials have not offered to negotiate restrictions on their ballistic missile program, according to a regime spokesman who contradicted anonymous diplomats.

"Iran regards defensive missile programs as its absolute right and will definitely continue them within the framework of its defensive, conventional and specified plans and strategies," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said, per state-run media.

That statement repudiates Iranian officials who told Reuters the regime is open to modest restrictions on the burgeoning missile program, which President Trump regards as a key flaw in the Iran nuclear deal. Iran was reputed to have broached the topic at the United Nations General Assembly, as Trump considers taking a step away from the deal.

"The dispute over the missile program also can be resolved through talks," an Iranian diplomat told Reuters. "[We might] negotiate some dimensions of it, like limiting production of some missiles with specific ranges."

Qassemi's denial is consistent with U.S. views that the regime regards the ballistic missile program as an "existential" support. "They would completely have a total political breakdown if they got rid of the missiles, and whatever they promise they won't fulfill it," one Middle East expert who has advised the Trump administration told the Washington Examiner in September. "But you can mitigate the problem by changing their operational behavior."

Trump is expected to declare that the nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama's team is not in the national security interests of the United States. That decision would set the stage for the renewal of economic sanctions that were waived as part of the deal, but Iran hawks instead want to use the imminent threat of those sanctions as leverage to obtain policy concessions from the regime.

"What the president should do at that point is outline the parameters of new legislation that he would like to see ... to fix some of the problems with the JCPOA, while also making it clear to Tehran, and to Europe and Asia, that the sword of Damocles of complete economic sanctions hangs over Iran's regime to be implemented at any moment by him unilaterally," Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., told the Washington Examiner in a recent interview.

"Iran regards defensive missile programs as its absolute right and will definitely continue them within the framework of its defensive, conventional and specified plans and strategies," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said, per state-run media.

That statement repudiates Iranian officials who told Reuters the regime is open to modest restrictions on the burgeoning missile program, which Trump regards as a key flaw in the Iran nuclear deal. Iran was reputed to have broached the topic at the United Nations General Assembly, as Trump considers taking a step away from the deal.

"The dispute over the missile program also can be resolved through talks," an Iranian diplomat told Reuters. "[We might] negotiate some dimensions of it, like limiting production of some missiles with specific ranges."

Qassemi's denial is consistent with U.S. views that the regime regards the ballistic missile program as an "existential" support. "They would completely have a total political breakdown if they got rid of the missiles, and whatever they promise they won't fulfill it," one Middle East expert who has advised the Trump administration told the Washington Examiner in September. "But you can mitigate the problem by changing their operational behavior."

Trump is expected to declare that the nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama's team is not in the national security interests of the United States. That decision would set the stage for the renewal of economic sanctions that were waived as part of the deal, but Iran hawks instead want to use the imminent threat of those sanctions as leverage to obtain policy concessions from the regime.

"What the president should do at that point is outline the parameters of new legislation that he would like to see ... to fix some of the problems with the JCPOA, while also making it clear to Tehran, and to Europe and Asia, that the sword of Damocles of complete economic sanctions hangs over Iran's regime to be implemented at any moment by him unilaterally," Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., told the Washington Examiner in a recent interview.