Late last week Iran's Revolutionary Guard unveiled a new surface-to-surface ballistic missile that Iran's military touts as possessing a range of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles), according to the elite force's Sepah News.
The IRGC released footage of the new missile stored deep inside what state media called an "underground" ballistic missile production facility in what appears the latest provocative snub to US and European leaders, who've recently demanded Iran halt all missile development and tests, but which Tehran has said is for defensive reasons and therefore legal within the framework of the 2015 JCPOA.
Fars News published video of IRGC commander-in-chief Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari and aerospace commander Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh showcasing the new missile, called Dezful, described as having "twice the destructive power" of the older Zolfaghar model, which had a range of 700 kilometers, according to statements by Hajizadeh.
And in comments aimed directly at the West, IRGC chief Jafari said, "Displaying this missile production facility deep underground is an answer to Westerners... who think they can stop us from reaching our goals through sanctions and threats," according to the AFP. The location of the facility, which appeared to show multiple rockets, was undisclosed.
"Europeans talk of limiting our defensive capability while they have the audacity [to allow] their offensive power be used to attack innocent people all over the world," he added.
This came within the same week the European Union issued a formal statement urging Iran to abandon all ballistic missile activity, and to further cease "intervention" in regional conflicts. The EU was reacting to a recent successful test of a new cruise missile named Hoveizeh, which has a purported range of 1,350 kilometers.
Meanwhile, Gen. Hajizadeh said at a separate event in Tehran that Iran's "missile power is not negotiable." He said, "This deterrence power has been created for the country and we do not hold talks about it with anyone at all."
As the AFP reports, Iran is still within the guidelines of the JCPOA despite the recent cruise missile tests and touting its new Dezful missile: "Iran has voluntarily limited the range of its missiles to 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles), but that is still enough to hit its arch-enemy Israel and US bases in the Middle East," according to the report.
The White House has continued to point to Tehran's expanding ballistic missile program as it builds a case for international pressures to increase and as it seeks to enforce sanctions, so the Iranian military's publicizing footage of what's been described as an entire "underground city" for missile development is certainly not going to help the Iranians.
Some reports described "vast corridors, full of various missile parts, including warheads, all at different stages of assembly" as well as an army of engineers at the plant "fulfilling tasks, from merely spinning nuts to fine-tuning some tiny electronic devices, thought to be parts of the missiles’ guidance system."
Thus Iran's leadership shouldn't be surprised in the future with the US administration uses its own footage against it in building the case for potential future military intervention.