Iran Test-Fires Long-Range Ballistic Missile
Two weeks ago, we tested a missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers and an error margin of eight meters,” Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi said on Monday. Iran’s armed forces regularly conduct ballistic missile tests in a demonstration of the country’s deterrent power. Such tests have come under scrutiny by the West since a nuclear agreement with Tehran went into force in January. The tests do not violate the nuclear agreement but Western powers have sought to pressure Iran into halting them.
The United States and several European powers have said the tests defy a UN Security Council resolution that calls on Iran not to test nuclear-capable missiles. Tehran says it doesn’t have any non-conventional weapons program and its missiles are not aimed at carrying nuclear warheads. Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said missiles are key to the Islamic Republic’s future. “Those who say the future is in negotiations, not in missiles, are either ignorant or traitors,” the Leader said in March. “If the Islamic Republic seeks negotiations but has no defensive power, it would have to back down against threats from any weak country.”
President Hassan Rouhani has also said Iran won’t accept any limitations on its missile program and ordered an accelerated production of missiles in response to new US sanctions. Ignoring the nuclear agreement, the US slapped new sanctions on two more Iranian groups in March for their alleged involvement in the country’s ballistic missile program. Washington is flaunting the sanctions threat under the argument that Iranian missiles could theoretically one day still carry nuclear warheads. Iran has said it will never produce nuclear weapons because they are banned under a fatwa issued by the country’s highest religious authority. A Press TV survey has found that the United States is looking for a pretext to impose sanctions on Iran. Some 58% of participants in the poll, carried out through April 3-May 7, thought the US is asking for fresh excuses to sanction Iran over its missile capabilities. About 33% said Washington has been trying to make Iran’s military vulnerable through targeting its missile program.
Courtesy: Foreign Policy Magazine