TEHRAN: Iran conducted multiple ballistic missile tests on Tuesday in what it said was a display of “deterrent power”, defying US sanctions imposed earlier this year aimed at disrupting its missile programme.
State media announced that short, medium and long-range precision guided missiles were fired from several sites to show the country’s “all-out readiness to confront threats” against its territorial integrity.
Pictures of the launches were broadcast and reports said the armaments used had ranges of 300 kilometres, 500 km, 800 km and 2,000 km.
The United States hit Iran with fresh sanctions on its missile programme in January, 24 hours after separate sanctions related to Tehran’s nuclear activities had been lifted under a landmark deal with world powers.
The latest tests, during an exercise named “The Power of Velayat”, a reference to the religious doctrine of the Islamic republic’s leadership, were undertaken by the Revolutionary Guards and its Aerospace wing.
Sepah News, the Guards’ official media service, carried a statement confirming the tests, which come less than two weeks after elections in Iran delivered gains to politicians aligned with Hassan Rouhani, the country’s moderate president. The Revolutionary Guards report to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not Rouhani, and their influence dwarfs that of the army and other armed forces.
Ballistic missile tests have been seen as a means for Iran’s military to demonstrate that the nuclear deal will have no impact on its plans, which is says are for domestic defence only.
Major General Ali Jafari, the Guards’ top commander, and Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, spoke about the tests on television, with the latter downplaying the effect of US efforts to disrupt its activities.
Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2016