Iran Continues Missile Program, Defying U.S. Warnings

A third underground ballistic missile production factory has been built in Iran, who will continue to develop its missile program, according to semi-official Fars news agency. 

Amirali Hajizadeh, senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and head of its airspace division said, “Iran’s third underground factory has been built by the Guards in recent years…We will continue to further develop our missile capabilities forcefully.”

This is likely to further aggravate tensions with the United States, since the Trump administration imposed sanctions based on Iran’s ballistic missile tests earlier this year, and put Iran on notice.

On his first international trip, where his initial stop was Saudi Arabia, Trump called Iran a sponsor of militant groups and a threat to countries across the region.

Iran’s response has been one of defiance. Nine American individuals and companies were added to its own list of 15 U.S. companies for alleged human rights violations and cooperation with Israel. On Monday, it’s newly reelected President Rouhani said “Iran does not need the permission of the United States to conduct missile tests.” Rouhani added, “Anytime we have a technical need to test-launch our missiles, we will do so. We accepted the nuclear deal to boost our defensive power.” 

Sara Diamond wrote in her article for Media Express, “Israel and Iran’s Sunni Muslim Gulf neighbors have expressed concern about Tehran’s ballistic missile program, which they see as a threat to the overall security and stability of the region. In 2015, footage was aired in Iran showing underground tunnels with ready-to-fire missiles on the back of trucks. An announcer noted that it was one of hundreds of such sites across the country.”

Iran also denies that its missile program disobeys the U.N. resolution that calls on it to discontinue its work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years. Most nuclear-related sanctions on Iran were lifted last year, after Tehran fulfilled commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal with the U.S. and other major powers to scale back its nuclear program. The deal has been heavily criticized by Trump as being too soft on Tehran. However, Iran still remains subject to a U.N. arms embargo and other restrictions.

Hajizadeh said further, “Along with improving our defense capabilities, we will continue our missile tests and missile production. The next missile to be produced is a surface-to-surface missile.”