President Hassan Rouhani orders acceleration of ballistic missile production, in response to possible US sanctions.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) has launched several medium-range and short-range ballistic missiles in recent days as part of a military exercise, according to the official IRNA news agency.
The missiles had a range of 300km to 2,000km, IRNA quoted General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the IRGC’s aerospace division, as saying on Tuesday.
IRNA said the missiles, launched from silos in several locations across the country, demonstrated Iran’s “deterrence power” and its readiness to confront threats.
Iran claims to already have surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 2,000km, capable of striking Israel and US military bases in the Middle East.
State TV ran on Tuesday what it called video footage of the operation, showing missiles in underground silos and flashes of light from night-time launches. State media said the exercise was in its final phase on Tuesday.
Rohollah Faghihi, a Tehran-based journalist who covers politics and foreign affairs, told Al Jazeera the latest drill was aimed at sending a “message to Iran’s main enemies in the region”.
Responding to the reports of the test, a US official told Reuters news agency his government will seek an “appropriate response” at the UN Security Council.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the reported ballistic missile tests would not be considered a violation of the international nuclear deal with Iran, but there were “strong indications” the test would be inconsistent with a Security Council resolution.
“This development underscores why we continue to work closely with partners around the world to slow and degrade Iran’s missile programme,” the official said.
The latest tests were called The Power of Velayat, a reference to the religious doctrine of Iran’s leadership, IRNA said.
The development comes less than two weeks after elections in Iran delivered gains to politicians aligned with Hassan Rouhani, the country’s moderate president.
The IRGC reports to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not Rouhani, and its influence is considered to be far greater than those of the army and other armed forces.
In October, Iran successfully test-fired a new guided long-range ballistic surface-to-surface missile.
It was the first such test since Iran and world powers reached a nuclear deal last summer.
In January, the US imposed new sanctions on individuals and entities linked to the ballistic missile programme.
Iran says none of its missiles are designed to carry nuclear weapons.