Dubai/Rome: Iran on Monday said new US curbs on the Islamic Republic's ballistic missile programme were illegitimate, vowing to continue developing its conventional military deterrent.
The United States imposed sanctions on 11 companies and individuals on Sunday for supplying Iran's ballistic missile programme in a move delayed by over two weeks so as not to endanger this weekend's release of US
The new measures also came after the lifting of far more comprehensive nuclear sanctions.
"The Islamic Republic will respond to these aggravating and propagandistic measures by pursuing its legal missile programme stronger than before and developing its defensive capabilities," a foreign ministry statement said.
Iran conducted a ballistic missile test in October, which the United Nations called a breach of a resolution prohibiting the country from developing missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.
Iran insists the missile was designed to carry a conventional payload.
Foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari blasted Washington's weaponry sales.
Hardline newspapers Kayhan and Vatan-e-Emrooz splashed the news on their front pages, crowding out a triumphal speech by President Hassan Rouhani, who on Sunday hailed the lifting of the nuclear sanctions.
"Sanctions are back!" ran the Kayhan headline.
The article pointed out that Tehran's top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had said new sanctions under any pretext would constitute a breach of the nuclear deal.
Meanwhile, according to a diplomatic source Rouhani will visit Italy and France next week on his first trip to Europe since the lifting of sanctions.
The source said Rouhani would be in Italy on January 25-26 and leave for Paris on January 27.
On his first day in Italy he will meet the country's president, prime minister and business leaders.
He is scheduled to meet Pope Francis on the second day, the source said.
The visits were originally due to take place in November but were cancelled after the attacks by extremist militants in Paris.
Meanwhile, Russia Helicopters hopes to deliver military helicopters to Iran now that sanctions have been lifted on the Islamic Republic, TASS news agency reported on Monday, citing the Russian firm.
"The lifting of sanctions gives an opportunity to provide the Iranian side new helicopters," TASS cited the company as saying.