Iran's ballistic-missile spending will continue, official says after Trump's nuke-deal pullout

The head of Iran’s parliamentary committee on national security said Wednesday that the country is preparing to continue spending on its ballistic missile program, a direct response to President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of an Obama-era nuclear deal.

“With America’s decision, Iran’s missile program will not change at all,” Alaeddin Boroujerdi said.

Iranian lawmakers in parliament on Wednesday set fire to a paper American flag after Trump’s announcement that the U.S. was pulling out of the 2015 nuclear accord, which the president said was “defective at its core.”

Ali Larijani, the parliament speaker, called Trump’s move a “diplomatic show.” He said it is “obvious that Trump only understands the language of force.”

The state-run IRNA news agency referred to Trump as “the troublemaker.” The hard-line daily Kayhan wrote: “Trump tears apart the nuclear deal; It is time to set it afire!”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sought to calm nerves inside his country, smiling as he appeared at a petroleum expo. He didn’t name Trump directly, but emphasized that Iran continued to seek “engagement with the world.”

He called Trump’s decision “unacceptable” and said Iran could restart enriching uranium “without any limitations” within weeks.

Iran’s economy and unemployment sparked nationwide protests in December and January that saw at least 25 people killed and, reportedly, nearly 5,000 arrested.

“I have ordered the foreign ministry to negotiate with the European countries, China and Russia in coming weeks. If at the end of this short period we conclude that we can fully benefit from the JCPOA with the cooperation of all countries, the deal would remain,” he said.

Shortly after the Trump announcement, Syrian state media accused Israel of launching missiles at a target near Damascus, which put Israel on high alert, Reuters reported. Israel did not comment on the report.

The Iran nuclear deal, signed under President Barack Obama, came with time limits and did not address Iran’s ballistic missile program or its regional policies in Syria and elsewhere.

Obama issued a rare public criticism, saying trump’s withdrawal would leave the world less safe.

Trump has repeatedly pointed to the accord’s omissions in referring to the accord as the “worst deal ever.”

Proponents of the deal have said the time limits were meant to encourage more discussion with Iran in the future that could eventually address other concerns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Edmund DeMarche is a news editor for Follow him on Twitter @EDeMarche.