Defense Chief Denies New Missile Test

Defense Chief Denies New Missile Test
Defense Chief Denies New Missile Test

The defense minister denied the report that Iran has recently tested a ballistic missile.

"We have not tested a 2,000-km-range missile recently," Lieutenant General Hossein Dehqan said on Monday, Fars News Agency reported.

A senior military official had said earlier in the day that a medium-range precision-guided ballistic missile was successfully tested late last month.   

"Two weeks ago, we test-fired a missile with a range of 2,000 km and an error margin of eight meters, which is absolutely negligible," Tasnim News Agency quoted Deputy Chairman of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Lieutenant General Ali Abdollahi as saying on Monday.

Since the nuclear deal was reached with P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) in July 2015, Iran conducted several missile tests, which have been a point of controversy with the western side.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps first launched the Emad ballistic missile in October, only three months after the announcement of the accord. Launches were then carried out in March during a military exercise, drawing western condemnation and prompting calls, especially in the US, for more sanctions.

The tests prompted France, Britain and Germany to write a joint letter to the UN Security Council's Iran sanctions committee, calling for action against the move, which they condemned as a violation of Resolution 2231. The resolution was adopted by the Security Council days after the conclusion of the nuclear pact to endorse it and terminate all the previous UN sanctions against Iran.

It "calls upon" Iran to refrain from any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

In response to the missile tests, the United States imposed sanctions on 11 Iranian businesses and individuals. Later, the US Treasury Department blacklisted two Iranian companies, cutting them off from international finance over links to Tehran's missile program. Tehran denies that its missiles are nuclear capable, saying they have been developed for use as a conventional deterrent.

It also argues that it is not bound by previous UNSC resolutions over its nuclear work because they are not legally credible.

Iranian officials have made clear that the missile program is non-negotiable and they "seek no one's approval" to develop their missile capabilities.