Iran over the weekend “likely” violated a UN Security Council resolution which prohibits the Islamic Republic from carrying out any military activity related to the use of ballistic missiles, a US official said Monday.
Based on information gathered by the White House so far, the Iranian regime appeared to have violated the international body’s Resolution 1929 when it recently conducted testing on a new, long-range, surface-to-surface ballistic missile, the official told US news outlet CNN.
Nevertheless, the US believes the Islamic Republic’s illegal activity does not breach the terms of a landmark nuclear accord between Iran, the US and five other major world powers.
The official indicated that the July agreement did not place restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities, as it was aimed at blocking the regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.
On Sunday, Iran said it had successfully tested a new domestically produced long-range missile, claiming the weapon was the first of its kind that could be guided all the way to targets.
The defense ministry posted pictures of the launch of the missile, named Imad, on its website but no details were given about its maximum range or other capabilities.
“This is Iran’s first long-range missile that can be guided and controlled until hitting the target,” Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan was quoted as saying.
The launch comes months after some Iranian officials voiced concern that the Islamic Republic’s recent nuclear deal with world powers could place limits on its missile program.
Dehghan said mass production of missiles would be followed by supplies of the weapon to the Iranian military, the semi-official Press TV reported.
A United Nations Security Council resolution adopted a few days after the nuclear agreement bars Iran from developing missiles “designed to carry nuclear warheads.” The resolution, however, is not yet in effect.
“We don’t seek permission from anyone to strengthen our defense and missile capabilities,” Dehghan said.
Iran has said its missiles would never carry a nuclear warhead as it has no plans to develop atomic weapons, but military officials have insisted on expanding the country’s missile program.
The deal reached with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States aims to limit Iran’s nuclear program in return for lifting international sanctions.
Since 1992, Iran has emphasized a self-sufficient and indigenous military production industry, producing missiles, tanks and light submarines. The government frequently announces military advances which cannot independently verified.
The Islamic Republic already claims to have surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) that can hit Israel and US military bases in the region.
AP and AFP contributed to this report.