On Friday, we reported that in the latest snub by President Hassan Rouhani to the Trump administration, on Friday the Iranian president said Tehran would continue its missile program in defiance of US sanctions, and to underscore the determination, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard unveiled its newest long-range ballistic missile during a military parade in Tehran. The newly unveiled missile is capable of reaching most of the Middle East, including Israel, with a range of 1,200 miles. It's also capable of carrying several warheads.
Rouhani addressed the parade in Tehran, saying that Iran would not halt its missile program but continue to boost military capabilities, despite U.S. demands. “We will increase our military power as a deterrent. We will strengthen our missile capabilities ... We will not seek permission from anyone to defend our country."
And to demonstrate just that, a few hours later Iran media released footage of the successful test-firing of the ballistic missile that was unveiled just hours earlier,.
State broadcaster Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) carried footage of the missile test without giving its time and location. It included video from an on-board camera which it said showed the detachment of the cone that carries multiple warheads.
“You are seeing images of the successful test of the Khorramshahr ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km, the latest missile of our country,” state television said, adding this was Iran’s third missile with a range of 2,000 km. Iran state TV added that “the weight of the Khorramshahr missile’s warhead has been announced to be 1,800 kg (4,000 lbs), ... making it Iran’s most powerful missile for defence and retaliation against any aggressive enemy."
The video also featured telemetry camera footage from four different angles, purportedly showing the moment when the missile was discharged. The Khorramshahr missile is the third Iran has purchased, with a range of 2,000 kilometers, according to Mehr news agency.
"The 2,000-km-range missile can carry the warhead 1,800km away," the Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh told reporters on Friday adding that "The specification of this missile is that it can carry several warheads instead of one to hit several targets."
The UK was not happy: “[We are] extremely concerned by reports of Iran missile test, which is inconsistent with UN resolution 2231. Call on Iran to halt provocative acts,” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wrote on Twitter.
The missile was unveiled in the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a military parade in Tehran, marking the 36th anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war. The war that began in 1980 and lasted eight years left an estimated 1 million people dead, according to Reuters. Iran has repeatedly stressed that its missile program is purely for defensive purposes. As we reported yesterday, Rouhani addressed Friday's parade in Tehran, noting that Tehran would not halt its missile program and would continue to boost military capabilities, despite US threats to scrap the landmark 2015 agreement that capped Iran's nuclear activities in return for the lifting of international sanctions on Iran.
"We will strengthen our defense and military capabilities ... whether you want it or not," Rouhani stressed.
On Wednesday, Rouhani warned that his country will "respond decisively'' to any violation of the agreement and called President Donald Trump's "ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric'' about Iran unfit for the United Nations. “It will be a great pity if this agreement were to be destroyed by rogue newcomers to the world of politics,” the Iranian leader said referring to Trump.
"The world will have lost a great opportunity, but such unfortunate behavior will never impede Iran's course of progress and advancement,'' Rouhani said, adding that the Trump administration is seeking "an excuse" to pull out of the 2015 deal. If Washington walks out of the agreement, "any choice and any option" are open for Iran "that we see as beneficial to our country,” Rouhani said.
"The option that we say we have at our disposal ... will never be going towards nuclear weapons," he said. "Iran has never sought nuclear weapons, will never seek nuclear weapons, is not now seeking nuclear weapons."
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In a report earlier this month, the UN watchdog monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities said that the country is fully in compliance with its 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, even as Donald Trump, who labelled it “the worst deal ever,” threatens to scrap it. “Iran has conducted its enrichment activities in line with its long-term enrichment and R&D enrichment plan” agreed with world powers, according to the six-page confidential document, seen by several news agencies, including Iran’s IRNA.
On Wednesday, president Trump said he has decided whether or not to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, but declined to share his decision publicly. "I have decided," Trump told reporters.
Pressed about his decision, the president responded, "I’ll let you know what the decision is.”