Iran successfully tested a ballistic missile with a potential range of 2,000 kilometers on Thursday, according to state media, two days after the head of Israel’s military threatened “action” against Tehran over its nuclear program.
Iran, which has one of the largest missile programs in the Middle East, claims that its armaments can reach the regional bases of archrivals Israel and the United States.
Despite opposition from the United States and Europe, the Islamic Republic has stated that it will continue to develop its “defensive” missile program.
“Our message to Iran’s adversaries is that we will defend the nation and its accomplishments. Mohammadreza Ashtiani, the Iranian minister of defense, said, “Our message to our allies is that we support regional stability.”
State TV aired brief footage purportedly depicting the launch of an upgraded variant of Iran’s Khorramshahr 4 ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers and the capacity to carry a 1,500 kilogram warhead.
It was stated that the domestically produced Kheibar missile’s fast preparation and launch times make it a tactical weapon in addition to a strategic one.
Tuesday, the top Israeli general hinted at the possibility of military action against Iran, as efforts by six world powers to revive Tehran’s 2015 nuclear agreement have stalled since September, amidst growing Western concerns over Tehran’s accelerating nuclear advances.
France accused Iran of violating a UN Security Council resolution endorsing the nuclear agreement following a ballistic missile test, which Paris deemed concerning given the “uninterrupted escalation” of Iran’s nuclear program.
Anne-Claire Legendre, a spokesperson for the French foreign ministry, told reporters at a daily briefing, “These activities are all the more alarming in light of the ongoing escalation of Iran’s nuclear program.”
The reference by Legendre to the escalation of Iran’s nuclear program comes just 10 days before the Vienna meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors.
Legendre stated, “We expect Iran to respect its international obligations… and make concrete and measurable progress before the Board of Governors meeting.”
She stated, “Iran’s activities pose grave and growing nonproliferation risks without any credible civilian justification.”
Resolution 2231 of the UN Security Council instructs Iran not to engage in any activity involving ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, but the language is ambiguous and subject to interpretation.
Western officials assert that although the launches violate UN Security Council Resolution 2231, they do not violate the fundamental nuclear agreement between Iran, the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia.
The restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program imposed by the UN Security Council on missiles and related technologies will expire in October 2023, at which point Iran will be free to resume its ballistic missile program.
Israel, which is not recognized by the Islamic Republic, views Iran as an existential menace. Iran asserts that its ballistic missiles serve as an effective deterrent and retaliatory weapon against the United States, Israel, and other prospective regional adversaries. A spokesperson for the Israeli military stated that the military does not comment on such matters.