Iran vows to continue missile tests despite US sanctions

Iran will continue missile tests to build up its defense and deterrence capabilities, a top military spokesman was quoted as saying on Sunday, following a U.S. allegation that Tehran had carried out a new missile test.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday condemned Iran’s testing of a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads as a violation of the international agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program.

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“Missile tests … are carried out for defense and the country’s deterrence and we will continue this,” General Abolfazl Shekarchi, a senior spokesman for Iran’s armed forces, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim news agency. He did not confirm or deny that Iran had carried out a new test.

Earlier, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton tweeted: “Iran just test-fired an INF-range ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel and Europe. This provocative behavior cannot be tolerated.”

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U.N. Resolution 2231 enshrined Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States in which Tehran curbed its uranium enrichment program in exchange for an end to international sanctions.

The resolution says Iran is “called upon” to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons.

President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the nuclear deal, approved before he took office, in May and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Twitter that he was deeply concerned by “Iran’s test-firing of a medium-range ballistic missile. Provocative, threatening and inconsistent with UNSCR 2231.”