What kind of a military impact could Iran’s ballistic missile arsenal have in the event of a potential conflict?
Iran’s foreign ministry has insisted that the missile tests carried out by the country’s Revolutionary Guard this week did not violate Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers or a UN Security Council resolution.
According to ministry spokesman, Hossein Jaberi Ansari, the missiles were “conventional defensive instruments and they were merely for legitimate defence,” the official IRNA news agency reported on Thursday.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard test-launched two ballistic missiles on Wednesday.
It was the latest in a series of recent tests, aimed at demonstrating Iran’s intentions to push ahead with its ballistic programme after scaling backing its nuclear programme under the deal reached last year with the US and other world powers.
Ansari said the test-firing “did not defy the Security Council resolution” and added that Iran will continue its missile programme. However, he also said that Iran will remain committed to its international obligations.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not compromise over its security and defensive power,” said Ansari.
“It will continue it’s completely defensive and legitimate missile programme while observing its international commitments and without entering into the fields of either nuclear warheads or designing missiles capable of carrying such warheads,” he added.
The landmark nuclear deal, under which Iran accepted to substantially cap its nuclear programme, does not include provisions against missile launches.
When it came into effect on January 16, the Security Council lifted most UN sanctions against Tehran — including a ban it had imposed in 2010 on Iran testing missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
That ban likely would have covered some of the missile fired this week.
To deal with the restrictions in the nuclear agreement, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution last July which among other measures “calls on” Iran not to carry out such tests.
Late on Wednesday, the head of the airspace division of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, General Amir Ali Hejazi, told state TV that the Hebrew markings on the missiles tested earlier in the day were “a choice by colleagues” who worked on the missiles, indicating it was not an official, high-level decision.