Middle East

Iran 'launches two new ballistic missiles'

Qadr H long-range ballistic missile is fired during a manoeuvre in an undisclosed location in Iran Image copyright AP
Image caption Picture released by the Fars news agency shows a Qadr H long-range ballistic missile being fired during drill

Iran has launched two new ballistic missiles, state media say, continuing a military exercise that has drawn a threat of a US diplomatic response.

The Revolutionary Guards launched the missiles from northern Iran against targets in the south-east, reports say.

On Tuesday, the country said it had launched several ballistic missiles as part of the same exercise.

In January, the US imposed sanctions targeting Iran's missile programme in response to a previous round of tests.

UN experts said those tests had violated a Security Council resolution.

Resolution 1929, which barred Iran from undertaking any work on "ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads", was terminated after a nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers was implemented two months ago.

A new resolution, 2231, then came into force that "calls upon" Iran not to undertake any activity related to "ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons".

Iran says it does not have nuclear weapons and will continue missile development.

The two Qadr H and Qadr F missiles hit targets 1,400km (870 miles) away, state media reported.

The missiles were produced by Iranian experts and the "successful" drills were aimed at showcasing the country's power, the Revolutionary Guards said, according to Iran's English-language Press TV channel.

They had the phrase "Israel must be wiped out'' written on them, the Fars news agency reported, AP said.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption A member of the Revolutionary Guards is seen next to a missile launcher in an underground tunnel at an undisclosed location
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Iran says its missiles are for use solely as a conventional deterrent

Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards maintain dozens of short and medium-range ballistic missiles, the largest stock in the Middle East, Reuters news agency says.

"The missiles fired today [Wednesday] are the results of sanctions. The sanctions helped Iran develop its missile programme," Brig Gen Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the Guards, was quoted as saying by Fars.

While any missile of a certain size could in theory be used to carry a nuclear warhead, Iran says its missiles are for use solely as a conventional deterrent.

It says it has ballistic missiles with a range of 2,000km (1,250 miles) that would be capable of reaching Israel and US military bases in the Middle East.

'We will act'

On Tuesday, US officials threatened to raise Iran's exercises at the UN Security Council if the reports were confirmed. But authorities said the tests would not violate the nuclear deal reached in January.

Under the agreement, Iran agreed with strict limits and checks on its disputed nuclear programme. In return, economic sanctions on the country would be lifted.

The latest exercise comes as US Vice President Joe Biden visits Iran's rival Israel. He said if Iran breaks the terms of the nuclear deal "we will act".

"A nuclear-armed Iran is an absolutely unacceptable threat to Israel, to the region and the United States," he said alongside Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

Mr Netanyahu has described the agreement as a "historic mistake" that cleared the way for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

Related Topics