Missile Tests Serve Deterrent Purpose

Missile Tests Serve Deterrent PurposeMissile Tests Serve Deterrent Purpose

Iran's missile tests are intended as a deterrent against its adversaries, a top military commander said.

Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, made the statement on the sidelines of a massive military drill on Wednesday, which saw the test-firing of domestically-made ballistic missiles, an issue of contention with the western side to the July 14 nuclear accord, IRNA reported.

"The missile launches carry a message of security, peace and support for Muslim lands and a deterrent and defensive message against the enemies of Islam and Iran," he said.

"They will risk becoming the target of the missiles, should they move to carry out any evil intention."

The IRGC fired several ballistic missiles during the final stage of the military exercise, codenamed the Might of Velayat, including the Qiam-1 missile on Tuesday and two Qadr missiles on Wednesday.

The missiles, launched from underground silos across the country, had varying ranges of 300 to 2,000 km, the Iranian media said.

Salami said, "The missiles fired today are the results of sanctions. The sanctions helped Iran develop its missile program … More sanctions will only lead to more missile development."

Iran's missile program is subject to UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that calls on the Islamic Republic not to develop missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads. The resolution was adopted by the council to endorse the nuclear agreement announced by Iran and major powers days earlier and terminate all previous UN resolutions against Tehran.

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

US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said US lawmakers would push for more unilateral sanctions, Reuters reported. The US State Department said on Tuesday it would raise the tests at the UN Security Council.

State Department spokesman, John Kirby, said the tests would not constitute a breach of the Iran nuclear deal, despite this agreement having been enshrined in international law under the resolution 2231.

"I do want to make it clear that such tests, if they are true, are not a violation of JCPOA," he said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name of the deal. "We also continue to aggressively apply our unilateral tools to counter threats from Iran’s missile program, and these tools are in no way impacted by the JCPOA or any phase of its implementation ... We have and we will use unilateral and multilateral tools to address this. If these latest reports are true, we'll take them up appropriately."

According to a transcript of his remarks posted on the website of US Department of State, Kirby also said, "We're not going to turn a blind eye to this ... I'm just trying to get to a technical point here, which is that it's not a violation of the Iran deal itself."

Elsewhere, asked about the UN secretary-general's reaction to Iran's move, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the world body, said the UN was looking into the reports and it was up to the Security Council to determine whether there was any violation.

"It's important that Iran live up to its obligations under the deal."