Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared Wednesday that Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities are crucial for the country’s defense, and – in an apparent swipe at an influential former president – added that those who argue that this is a time for talks rather than for missiles are either ignorant or traitors. At a time when some U.N. Security Council members are mulling a response to Iran’s recent missile launches, Khamenei used an address to Iranians marking the birthday of Mohammed’s youngest daughter to laud the program.

He praised the recent demonstrations of missile prowess by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), saying – according to a statement on his website – they were “a source of happiness for those nations that have been wronged by the United States and the Zionist regime of Israel, and are at the same time unable to do anything about it.” READ MORE