Iran plans to increase the range of its missiles and ammunition, commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh announced.
PressTV cited the General, who claimed that increasing the air-to-air missile and other ammunition’s range is one of the Iranian military’s most important programs.
“We are after standoff missiles and ammunition and see no limitations for ourselves in this field because the Air Force should boost the country’s deterrent power along with other [Armed] Forces,” he added.
The IRIAF Commander also claimed that Iran has a “very extensive” plan in the field of long-range and smart ammunition and missiles.
There are also plans to enhance radar systems to allow Iranian fighter jets to more quickly strike their targets and with higher precision.
The General praised Iran’s “great missile capabilities and its defense industry in manufacturing missiles which few countries around the world possess.”
Iran’s military has cited 2,000 km (1,240 miles) as the current missile range, and said US bases in Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, plus U.S. aircraft carriers in the Gulf, were within range.
On December 2nd, Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami also claimed that Iran is one of the world’s “topmost missile powers despite being subject to severe sanctions over the last 40 years.”
“Today, Iran is among the world’s topmost powers in building missiles, radars, armored vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs),” the Iranian defense minister said in an exclusive interview with IRNA. He also reiterated that Iran’s defensive power is no threat and aims “to send the message of peace and friendship to other nations.”
The senior spokesman of Iranian Defense Forces Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, said that the Islamic Republic would continue to test and develop its missiles in line with its deterrence policy despite warnings by US officials.
“Missile tests and the overall defensive capability of the Islamic Republic are for defense [purposes] and in line with our country’s deterrence [policy]…We will continue to both test and develop missiles. This issue is outside the framework of any negotiations and is part of our national security. We will not ask any country’s permission in this regard.”
This all followed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s condemning of Iran’s testing of medium-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying multiple warheads.
Cited by Reuters, Pompeo warned on Twitter that Iran is increasing its “testing and proliferation” of missiles and called on the Islamic Republic to “cease these activities.”
“The Iranian regime has just test-fired a medium range ballistic missile that’s capable of carrying multiple warheads,” he wrote in the tweet. “This test violates UNSCR 2231,” he added, citing the United Nations Security Council’s endorsement of the international nuclear agreement. “We condemn this act.”
US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said that the Iranian launch was significant and served as a reminder that Tehran would most likely be undeterred from pursuing missile technology and supporting militants.
“It shows that our best efforts to try to talk them out of their aggressive support of terrorism is probably going to be as unsuccessful as the U.N’s effort to stop them from launching missiles,” Mattis said.
He further said that North Korea is a larger threat globally, but Iran is quite significant as a threat in its region.
White House National Security Adviser John Bolton also claimed that Iran’s behavior would not be tolerated.
“Iran just test-fired an INF range ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel and Europe. This provocative behavior cannot be tolerated,” he said on Twitter on December 1st.
On November 29th, the Hill cited the US State Department, which claimed that military action against Iran could be possible, if the US sanctions against the country fail to deter Tehran from delivering weapons to “hostile groups in the region.”
“We have been very clear with the Iranian regime that we will not hesitate to use military force when our interests are threatened. I think they understand that. I think they understand that very clearly,” said Brian Hook, the State Department special representative on Iran.
Brian Hook also spoke to Reuters after a meeting with European partners in Brussels on December 4th. “We would like to see the European Union pass sanctions that would designate the people and the organizations that are facilitating Iran’s missile testing and missile proliferation,” he said. He also reiterated that Iran’s tests violated U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231.
On December 4th, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to US claims and defended the Iranian missile program.
“Making a mockery of the UNSC won’t obscure failure to fulfill obligations & to hold US to account over non-compliance. Esp when even US admits that UNSCR2231 does NOT prohibit Iran’s deterrent capabilities. Rather than undermining 2231, better to work towards its adherence by all,” he tweeted.
The tensions are as high as ever between the US and Iran and there appears to be no willingness from both sides to provide any concessions.