The missile test occurred just hours before the Iranian parliament approved the general terms of the nuclear agreement.
Experts have been debating the interpretation of a United Nations Security Council resolution, adopted a few days after the accord was agreed upon, that bars Iran from developing missiles “designed to carry nuclear warheads”.
Hard-line Iranian officials had for months been demanding new missile tests, a common practice before the negotiations over the country’s nuclear programme began in 2013.
The missile — named Emad, or ‘pillar’ — is a step up from Iran’s Shahab-3 missiles because it can be guided toward its target, the Iranian defence minister, Hossein Dehghan, told the semiofficial Fars news agency. Mr Dehghan said: “We don’t seek permission from anyone to strengthen our defense and missile capabilities” .
Anthony Cordesman, a researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, wrote in October last year that the Emad was a variant of Iran’s existing Shahab-3 long-range missile, “but with a maneuvering re-entry vehicle to improve system accuracy and complicate missile defense”.
The new Emad rocket has a reported range of just over 1,000 miles and can deliver a 750kg payload to within 500 metres of a target. Iran in recent decades has developed a large number of home-grown missiles, some of which can reach as far as Europe.