The United States on Thursday vowed to remain “relentless” in pressuring Iran to deter its missile program after the Islamic Republic unveiled a new ballistic weapon days after testing a cruise missile.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards last week unveiled a new ballistic missile with a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), their official news agency Sepah News reported.
The move was the latest show of military might by the country as it celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution at a time of heightened tensions with the United States.
“Iran’s blatant disregard for international norms must be addressed,” State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.
“We must bring back tougher international restrictions to deter Iran’s missile program,” he added.
“The United States will continue to be relentless in building support around the world to confront the Iranian regime’s reckless ballistic missile activity, and we will continue to impose sufficient pressure on the regime so that it changes its malign behavior – including by fully implementing all of our sanctions.”
Tehran reined in most of its nuclear program under a landmark 2015 deal with major powers but has kept up development of its ballistic missile technology.
President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the nuclear accord in May and reimposed sanctions on Iran, citing the program among its reasons.
“Iran’s latest missile launch again proves the Iran deal is doing nothing to stop Iran’s missile program,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted late Thursday.
Iran and the other signatories have stuck by the 2015 agreement, although some European governments have demanded an addition to address Tehran’s ballistic missile program and its intervention in regional conflicts.
Meanwhile, UN Security Council Resolution 2231 — adopted just after the nuclear deal — calls on Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”
Tehran, which calls for the destruction of Israel, insists that it sees the missile program as crucial to its defensive posture, and says its existence is non-negotiable. It has also maintained that it never intended to develop nuclear weapons and therefore its missile development does not violate the agreement.
However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has presented evidence which he says details Iranian efforts and research programs specifically aimed at producing atomic weapons. In a Mossad operation, Israel earlier this year spirited out a trove of Iranian documentation from Tehran’s nuclear weapons archive, which Netanyahu said proved conclusively that Iran is lying when it says it has not been working toward a nuclear weapons arsenal.