The announcement, alongside another introducing a new Iranian cruise missile, comes despite US demands for Tehran to halt its missile programme - a
The announcement, alongside another introducing a new Iranian cruise missile, comes despite US demands for Tehran to halt its missile programme – and raises tensions in the region with Iran already struggling under the weight of sanctions targeting its oil exports. During the course of his televised speech, defence minister Amir Hatami said: “The surface-to-surface missile, called martyr Qassem Soleimani, has a range of 1,400 km and the cruise missile, called martyr Abu Mahdi, has a range of over 1,000 km.”
Footage of both missiles were shown on state TV, with commentators describing the Abu Mahdi as “the newest Iranian cruise missile that will further strengthen Iran’s deterrence power”.
Mr Soleimani, who was head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, were both killed in January in a US drone strike on their convoy in Baghdad airport.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani: “Missiles and particularly cruise missiles are very important for us the fact that we have increased the range from 300 to 1,000 in less than two years is a great achievement.
“Our military might and missile programmes are defensive.”
The announcement comes at a time when Washington is seeking to extend a UN-imposed arms embargo against Iran, which is scheduled to expire in October in accordance with Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, the Joint Plan of Comprehensive Action (JPOCA).
The already hostile relationship between between Tehran and Washington worsened in 2018, when US President Donald Trump pulled out the United States from JPOCA.
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said today Mr Trump has directed him to trigger ‘snapback’ – a return of all US sanctions on Iran – at the UN Security Council in New York on Thursday, after the council rejected Washington’s bid to extend Tehran’s arms embargo.
When asked if the United States would target Russia and China with sanctions if they refuse to reimpose the UN measures on Iran, Mr Pompeo told Fox News: “Absolutely.
“We have already done that, where we have seen any country violate the current American sanctions, we’ve held every nation accountable for that.
“We’ll do the same thing with respect to the broader UN Security Council sanctions as well.”
Mr Pompeo said it was unfortunate that the European members of the council abstained on the US attempt to extend the arms embargo and that the move “makes the European people less safe.”
He added: “They just are wedded to this crazy nuclear deal, they’re trying to hang on to it.”
Once Mr Pompeo submits the complaint about Iran to the Security Council, the body has 30 days to adopt a resolution to extend sanctions relief for Tehran or else the measures will automatically snap back.
Any bid to extend the sanctions relief would be vetoed by the United States.
Mr Pompeo will also meet with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday.