Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei proclaimed that the Islamic Republic would prioritize its missile program over negotiations, Fox News reports.
"Those who say the future is in negotiations, not in missiles, are either ignorant or traitors," Khamenei said in a speech intended for Western negotiators and posted on his official website.
This declaration comes after Iran's Revolutionary Guard test-fired two ballistic missiles earlier this month, violating a United Nations Security Council resolution in support of the Iran nuclear deal.
The missiles were launched while Vice President Joe Biden visited Israel and the slogan "Israel must be wiped out" was written on the missiles in Hebrew.
Khamenei justified Iran's missile program to improve the country's bargaining position.
"If the Islamic Republic seeks negotiations but has no defensive power, it would have to back down against threats from any weak country," said Khamenei.
However, Iran continues to openly threaten Israel's existence without provocation. The latest missile tests are an attempt to enhance Iran's credibility and bolster its threatening belligerence by demonstrating improvements to capabilities that could one day destroy the Jewish state.
Hard-liners in Iran's military have fired rockets and missiles despite U.S. objections since the deal, and have shown underground missile bases on state television.
In recent months, Iran fired rockets near U.S. warplanes and deployed an unmanned aerial vehicle over a U.S. aircraft carrier.
In light of recent sanctions relief, Iran continues to invest in the murder of Israelis and anti-regime critics abroad. Anticipated financial flows have encouraged Iranian hardliners to consolidate more power domestically and increase support for terrorist proxies, including Hizballah, in the region.