A senior Iranian official revealed on Monday that the country successfully tested a precision-guided, medium-range ballistic missile, that can easily reach Israel, two weeks ago, the country-run news agency Tasnim reported.
Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi told participants at a Tehran science conference, “We test-fired a missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) and a margin of error of eight meters.” This eight-meter margin means “full accuracy”, Abdollahi said.
The general went on to reveal that 10 percent of Iran’s defense budget, a substantial sum following the dropping of sanctions earlier this year as a result of the landmark nuclear deal, has been allocated to “research projects aimed at strengthening defense power.”
Iran’s capabilities could spell trouble for the regime’s enemies, a possibility that has aroused international concern. The United States as well as other Western countries have insisted that the Islamic Republic’s missiles threaten anyone in the Middle East who fall within the range of Iranian rockets.
Arguably, the country most at risk of coming under Iranian fire in the region is Israel. Iran’s tenacious animosity towards Israel often makes headlines worldwide. Making sensitive matters worse, Tehran’s clerical rulers continuously refuse to recognize the Jewish state.
Reassurances that the rocket was created purely for defense purposes notwithstanding, should the Iranian military ever decide to launch the missile, Israel would easily be within range.
This is not the first time Israel has been singled out by the regime as a prime target for destruction. In March, Iran test-fired two missiles which were adorned with Hebrew writing which read, “Israel should be wiped off the Earth.” An Iranian commander said the test was meant to demonstrate to Israel that it is within Iranian missile range and therefore the country should never falsely assume distance is its safety net. The launch triggered international fury; US, France, Britain and Germany condemned it as “destabilizing and provocative,” calling for United Nations intervention, The Times of Israel reported.
The ongoing developments of the Iranian ballistic missile program was not covered by the historic nuclear deal which was facilitated by the P5+1 world powers and signed by Iran in July 2015. For this reason, testing these missiles is not forbidden outright, giving Iran room to push limits. Regardless, US officials have said that such actions are “not consistent” with the United Nations Security Council resolution which required Iran to restrict all advances on their atomic facilities in exchange for the lifting of billions of dollars’ worth of sanctions.
“Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology” until October 2023, the UN statement said.
Not altogether surprisingly, the UN’s official instructions have not stopped Iran from performing several ballistic missile tests since the deal was adopted this past October, revealing the accord’s limitations and highlighting Iran’s general disinterest in abiding by its stipulations. For example, just last month, American and Russian officials said Iran test-fired rockets in what some considered a “cover for intercontinental ballistic missile research,” the Times of Israel reported.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has cautioned the UN of the dangers involved by lifting the sanctions. However, world powers have disregarded his warnings time and again, making it difficult for the Prime Minister to make any headway.