By Lucas Tomlinson, ,
Published February 07, 2017
Less than a week after the White House put Iran “on notice” for conducting a new ballistic missile test, Iran fired off five advanced surface-to-air missiles as part of a military exercise Sunday, two U.S. officials revealed to Fox News.
The Iranian Sayyad -- or “Hunter” -- missiles were launched from Dasht-e Kavir, a remote area 45 miles south of Semnan, Iran, the location of last week’s ballistic missile launch. Officials said the tests were successful.
The missiles are used to down aircraft and incoming ballistic missiles, according to the officials.
They said they believed the launches were meant to coincide with the country’s “10 Days of Dawn” celebrations marking 37 years since the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
The celebrations began February 1, the anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini's return to Iran after 15 years in exile. Just 10 days later, then-Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's regime collapsed.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard conducted a separate military exercise on Saturday aimed at testing its missile and radar systems. It came after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said the U.S. was putting Iran "on notice" for testing ballistic missiles and supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Iran apparently conducted its first ballistic missile test during Donald Trump's presidency about a week ago. In addition, the Iran-backed rebels may have been targeting the U.S. in their recent attack on a Saudi ship, defense officials said.
“We will never use our weapons against anyone, except in self-defense. Let us see if any of those who complain can make the same statement,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in a tweet Friday.
U.N. Resolution 2231 says Iran is “called upon” not to conduct ballistic missile tests -- but it does not forbid the rogue nation from doing so. The resolution went into effect days after the landmark nuclear deal was signed by world powers including the U.S.
It was unclear whether Sayyad-1s or Sayyad-2s were launched on Sunday. The Type 2 has a range of up to 125 miles, while Type 1 can fly up to 75 miles. Both missile appear similar from satellite imagery, according to officials.
Both types of missiles have been in Iran’s arsenal only since 2013, when mass production began.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.