Iran is working on missiles that are “capable of delivering nuclear weapons” and can reach parts of Europe and the entire Middle East, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday. Pompeo, in a statement released by the State Department, said the Iranian regime had “just test-fired a medium range ballistic missile that is capable of carrying multiple warheads.” Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Middle East nations are among the enemies of Iran within the missile’s range, and Pompeo said “parts of Europe” were within scope of the latest missile test. He said the activity opposes the authority of the powerful United Nations Security Council.
“This test violates UN Security Council resolution 2231 that bans Iran from undertaking ‘any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology,’” said Pompeo.
In response, the Iranians alleged again that their missiles are defensive in nature, although it’s unclear why they would need to deter Europe given that continent’s determination to maintain the controversial nuclear deal with Iran against the wishes of the US. Senior spokesman of the Iranian Armed Forces, Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, per a report from Iran’s PressTV, called missile tests “in line” with Iran’s policy of deterrence and said they would “continue to both test and develop missiles.”
He further said the Islamic Republic would not request permission to continue their missile program nor was it up for negotiation. The United States has long said countering Iran’s missile program should be part of the Iranian nuclear accord with the major world powers, a key reason why the US backed out of the deal earlier this year.
The Iranian missile program has launched plenty of controversy—from their potential to carry nuclear weapons to reports of anti-Israel slogans written on the missiles themselves. Pompeo highlighted that this isn’t the first time the Americans have expressed serious concern about Iran’s missile program.
“As we have been warning for some time, Iran’s missile testing and missile proliferation is growing. We are accumulating risk of escalation in the region if we fail to restore deterrence,” said Pompeo. “We condemn these activities, and call upon Iran to cease immediately all activities related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, December 2, 2018)