Iran continues missile tests with two more launches

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) test fires two ballistic missiles defying US sanctions

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A view of an underground depot where missiles are launched, in an undisclosed location, Iran, in this handout photo released by the official website of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on March 8, 2016.

Updated Mar 16, 2016

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) test fired two ballistic missiles on Wednesday morning, the Fars and Tasnim news agencies said, defying a threat of new sanctions from the United States.

The launches followed the test firing of several missiles on Tuesday, which the US State Department said it would raise at the UN Security Council. The US legislature also said it would push for more unilateral sanctions.

Iran's medium-range ballistic missiles are designed to be able to hit Israel, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards' missile battery was quoted as saying as the Guards test-fired two missiles.

"The reason we designed our missiles with a range of 2000 km (1,200 miles) is to be able to hit our enemy the Zionist regime from a safe distance," Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh was quoted as saying by the ISNA agency.

On Thursday, Iranian head of army said Iran’s missile programme will continue and should not be considered a threat to neighbouring and friendly countries.

Two months ago, Washington imposed sanctions against businesses and individuals linked to Iran's missile programme over a test of the medium-range Emad missile carried out in October 2015.

The two Qadr H missiles that were fired from northern Iran on Wednesday hit targets in the southeast of the country 1,400 kms (870 miles) away, the agencies said.

"The missiles fired today are the results of sanctions. The sanctions helped Iran develop its missile programme," Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the IRGC, was quoted as saying by Fars.

The IRGC, a powerful force that reports directly to the supreme leader, is deeply suspicious of the United States and its allies. It maintains dozens of short and medium-range ballistic missiles, the largest stock in the Middle East.

Washington fears those missiles could be used to carry a nuclear warhead, even after Iran implemented a nuclear deal with world powers in January that imposes strict limits and checks on its disputed nuclear programme.

Washington said the fresh missile tests would not violate the Iran nuclear deal itself, under which Tehran would receive relief from economic sanctions. The deal was endorsed in resolution 2231.

Iran's missile programme is subject to a UN Security Council resolution that calls on the country not to develop missiles designed to be capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Iran says its missiles are solely a conventional deterrent.

TRTWorld, Reuters