Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) fired several ballistic missiles from silos across the country during a military exercise on Tuesday, the official IRNA news agency reported, defying recent U.S. sanctions on its missile program.
The test was executed only two months after the United States sanctioned businesses and individuals linked to Iran’s missile program over a test of the medium-range Emad missile, Iran’s most advanced model under development, carried out in October 2015.
State TV ran what it said was video footage of the operation, showing missiles fired from fortified underground silos and flashes of light from nighttime launches. Reports compared the released footage to the previous launch in October.
IRNA said the missiles demonstrated the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ “deterrence power” and its readiness to confront threats.
Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC’s aerospace arm, said sanctions would not stop Iran developing its ballistic missiles, which it regards as a cornerstone of its conventional deterrent.
“Our main enemies are imposing new sanctions on Iran to weaken our missile capabilitie. But they should know that the children of the Iranian nation in the Revolutionary Guards and other armed forces refuse to bow to their excessive demands,” the IRGC’s website quoted Hajizadeh as saying.
Commenting on the video footage, state television reported that the test took place in the early hours of Tuesday, and it was a medium-range Qiam-1 missile.
“The missiles struck a target 700 km away,” Hajizadeh said.
The United Nations said the October test, which took place after Iran reached a nuclear deal with world powers in July, violated Security Council Resolution 1929 which barred Iran from undertaking any work on nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.
After that resolution expired upon the implementations of the nuclear deal in January, a new resolution came into force under which Iran is “called upon” not to undertake any work on missiles “designed to” deliver nuclear weapons.
Iran always denied any link between its ballistic missiles and its notorious nuclear program, which is now subject to severe limitations and checks under the nuclear deal that came into force in January.
Tuesday’s test was intended “to show Iran’s deterrent power and also the Islamic Republic’s ability to confront any threat against the (Islamic) Revolution, the state and the sovereignty of the country”, the IRGC’s official website said.
While any missile of a certain size could in theory be used to carry a nuclear warhead, Iran claims that the Emad and other missiles are for use as a conventional deterrent. Recent work has focused on refining the missiles’ accuracy, which experts say will make them more effective with conventional warheads.