US President Donald Trump said Iran’s test-firing of a ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel called into question the landmark nuclear agreement with Tehran Saturday, and accused the Islamic Republic of working with North Korea on its weapons program.
The comments came after Iran said it had successfully tested a new medium-range missile, in defiance of warnings from Washington that it is ready to ditch the nuclear deal over the issue.
“Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel. They are also working with North Korea. Not much of an agreement we have!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel.They are also working with North Korea.Not much of an agreement we have!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
Trump has threatened several times in recent months to scrap and/or amend the agreement, saying that Iran’s missile program could give it the technical know-how for a delivery system for a nuclear warhead when a sunset clause in the deal expires in 2025.
Officials have also reportedly harbored suspicions of links between Tehran and Pyongyang, with Iran using North Korea to skirt inspections on its nuclear program and the countries sharing nuclear and missile know-how, though no cooperation has ever been confirmed. North Korea has openly challenged Trump by testing missiles and nuclear warheads, leading to a standoff between Pyongyang and Washington.
Trump is due to report to Congress on October 15 on whether or not he believes Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal. If he decides that it is not, it could open the way for renewed US sanctions and perhaps the collapse of the agreement. Trump said on Wednesday he had made his decision, but was not yet ready to reveal it.
Earlier Saturday night, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called the Iranian test a provocation to the United States and a threat to the whole world.
“The ballistic missile that was fired by Iran is not only a a provocation and a slap in the face for the United States and its allies — and an attempt to test them — but also further proof of the Iranian ambitions to become a world power and threaten countries in the Middle East all the the countries of the free world,” Liberman said in a statement.
An “extremely concerned” French foreign ministry warned the launch violated the United Nations Security Council resolution that endorsed the accord.
“France demands that Iran halt all destablizing activities in the region and to respect all provisions of Resolution 2231, including the call to halt this type of ballistic activity,” a statement read.
“France will consider ways, with its European and other partners, to get Iran to stop its destabilizing ballistic activities.”
Revolutionary Guards aerospace chief General Amir Ali Hajizadeh was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying on Friday, when the missile was unveiled, that “the Khoramshahr missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) and can carry multiple warheads.”
Iranian State television carried footage of the launch of the Khoramshahr missile, which was first displayed at a high-profile military parade in Tehran on Friday. It also carried in-flight video from the nose cone.
— Press TV (@PressTV) September 23, 2017
Iran says all of its missiles are designed to carry conventional warheads only and has limited their range to a maximum of 2,000 kilometers, although commanders say they have the technology to go further.
That makes them only medium-range but still sufficient to reach Israel or US bases in the Gulf.
Previous Iranian missile launches have triggered US sanctions and accusations that they violate the spirit of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers.