American intelligence and military officials told the New York Times that the stockpile is part of an Iranian effort to project power in the Middle East in light of the recently rebuilt US military presence there- a response to counter emerging threats to American interests, including attacks on oil tankers intelligence officials have blamed on Iran.
The US officials continued to highlight that these missiles threaten US allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia alongside American troops stationed in the area.
Last year, Reuters reported that Iran had given ballistic missiles to Shi’ite proxies in Iraq and was developing the capacity to build more there.
This week, the UK, Germany and France condemned Iran for working on nuclear-capable missiles.
Ambassadors from the three European nations urged UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a letter circulated Wednesday to inform the council in his next report that Iran’s ballistic missile activity is “inconsistent” with the call in a council resolution endorsing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
The letter cites footage released on social media on 22nd April 2019, of a previously unseen flight test of a new Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile variant “equipped with a manoeuvrable re-entry vehicle”. It says: “The Shahab-3 booster used in the test is a Missile Technology Control Regime category-1 system and as such is technically capable of delivering a nuclear weapon”.