Published March 08, 2016
Iran's Revolutionary Guard launched several medium-range and short-range ballistic missiles in recent days as part of a military exercise, the Guard announced Tuesday.
The missiles had ranges of between 300 and 2,000 kilometers (185-1,250 miles), Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Guard's aerospace division, said, according to the state news agency IRNA.
The longer ends of that range appear to exceed limits that the U.N. Security Council has imposed in connection to resolutions banning Iran from developing missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Iran says none of its missiles are designed to carry nuclear weapons.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric, asked whether the secretary-general condemned the latest missile launches, said the U.N. was looking into the reports and it was up to the Security Council to determine whether there were any violation. "It's important that Iran live up to its obligations under the (nuclear) deal," he said.
The U.N. experts panel said last year that a missile with a range of at least 300 kilometers (186 miles) and a payload of at least 500 kilograms (1,102 pounds) is considered by expert guidelines to be capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction
The Revolutionary Guard website said the missiles launched during the exercises included the mid-range Shahab-1 and -2, and the multiple warhead Qiam, with a range of 800 kilometers, and the liquid-fueled Qadr F, which reportedly has a range of nearly 2,000 kilometers. It did not give the rockets' payload capacity.
The missiles have been in service in the Guard over the past years.
IRNA said the missiles, launched from silos in several locations across the country, demonstrated Iran's "deterrence power" and its readiness to confront threats. State TV ran what it said was video footage of the operation, showing missiles in underground silos and flashes of light from nighttime launches.
"Israel is afraid of the missile launch since it is in range of most of our missiles. Naturally, whoever has hostility towards Iran is in fear," said the Guard chief, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, according to the Guard's website. "Our enemies have learned that increasing sanctions and security pressures have no (negative) impact on boosting of our capabilities."
State media said the exercise was in its final phase on Tuesday.
In October, Iran successfully test-fired a new guided long-range ballistic surface-to-surface missile. It was the first such test since Iran and world powers reached a landmark nuclear deal last summer.
U.N. experts said the launch used ballistic missile technology banned under a Security Council resolution. In January, the U.S. imposed new sanctions on individuals and entities linked to the ballistic missile program.
Since 1992, Iran has emphasized a self-sufficient and indigenous military production industry, producing missiles, tanks and light submarines. The government frequently announces military advances which cannot independently verified.
Associated Press Writer Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.