INRA reported yesterday that the purpose of missile testing was for “deterrence power”, and to ensure “Iran’s all-out readiness to counter any threat against the Islamic Revolution and the country’s territorial integrity”.
The missile tests have been dubbed ‘The Authority of Velayat’, which refers to the religious doctrine of the Islamic republic’s leadership.
Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said on Tuesday that Iran’s enemies are afraid of Iranian missiles, particularly the “Zionist regime” (Israel) which is “within reach of Iranian missiles”.
The US State Department spokesman, John Kirby, said today that the tests do not constitute a breach of the Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Iran and the P5+1 signed in July 2015). However, he said that if reports were true, the missile test would be in breach of UN resolutions.
In October 2015, Iranian state television broadcast unprecedented footage of a huge underground tunnel packed with missiles and launcher units, which officials said could be used if “enemies make a mistake”. The tunnel, hundreds of metres long and about 10 metres high, was filled with missiles and hardware.
Also in October, Iran tested a new guided long-range ballistic missile, named Emad, or ‘pillar’, which is a step up from Iran’s Shahab-3 missiles because it can be guided toward its target. At the time, Iran’s Defence Minister, Hossein Dehghan said: “We don’t seek permission from anyone to strengthen our defence and missile capabilities”.
Israel believes that Iran’s continued ballistic missile tests prove that Tehran is pursuing a nuclear weapon, despite the nuclear deal in July 2015 that curbs Iran’s nuclear programme in return for sanction relief.