Sunday 20 October 2019

Iran launches jibes at US as senior commander confirms missile test

Mike Pompeo: Made claims about Iran's missile abilities
Mike Pompeo: Made claims about Iran's missile abilities

Babak Dehghanpisheh

A senior Iranian military commander has confirmed that Tehran recently carried out a ballistic missile test, the country's Fars news agency said on Tuesday.

Amirali Hajizadeh noted US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's claim earlier this month that Iran had fired a missile capable of carrying multiple warheads and reaching the Middle East and Europe.

"The reaction of the Americans shows that this test was very important for them and that's why they were shouting," Mr Hajizadeh, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards' aerospace division, said.

"We will continue our missile tests and this recent action was an important test."

The UN Security Council met last week to discuss the test, which the US, Britain and France said flouted UN restrictions on Tehran's military programme.

Donald Trump pulled out of an international agreement on Iran's nuclear programme in May and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

He said the deal was flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran's development of ballistic missiles or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.

Iran has ruled out negotiations with Washington over its military capabilities, particularly the missile programme run by the Guards.

It says the programme is purely defensive and denies missiles are capable of being tipped with nuclear warheads.

Mr Hajizadeh said Iran holds up to 50 missile tests a year.

"The issue of missiles has never been subject to negotiations and nothing has been approved or ratified about its prohibition for … Iran in (UN) resolution 2231," foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said yesterday. "Our defence doctrine is basically founded upon deterrence."

Under resolution 2231, Iran is "called upon" to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.

Last month, Hajizadeh said US bases in Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, and US aircraft carriers in the Gulf were within range of Iranian missiles.

The head of the Guards, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said yesterday the US was becoming weaker.

"American power is declining," Mr Jafari said, according to Fars. "The enemies don't dare bring up the issue of overthrowing the Islamic Republic and they will take this wish to the grave."

Irish Independent

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