The U.S. Treasury Department recently blacklisted two Iranian companies who are connected to their ballistic missile program. These additional sanctions on Iran will cut off any international finance these two companies might seek from other nations to fund their roles in the Iranian missile program. Undeterred, Iran remains defiant and vows it will continue its ballistic missile program despite these additional sanctions being placed upon them.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) has test-fired several ballistic missiles over the last month, with two launches in particular garnering international attention when it was revealed that ‘some low-level worker’ wrote “Israel must be wiped out” in Hebrew on two of the missiles shortly before they were launched.
Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC’s aerospace branch said,
“Even if they build a wall around Iran, our missile program will not stop. They are trying to frighten our officials with sanctions and invasion. This fear is our biggest threat.”
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s special forces, maintain dozens of short and medium-range ballistic missiles, the largest stockpile in the Middle East and claim that these missiles are strictly for defensive use with non-nuclear warheads. On Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated that reinforcing Iran’s defense capabilities coincides with Iran’s “strategic policy,” but should take great care in not provoking its enemies. He said,
“We will pursue any measure to boost our defense might and this is a strategic policy, but at the same time we should remain vigilant so that Iran’s enemies do not find any excuse to take advantage of the situation.”
(President Rouhani has no say-so over decisions regarding the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp, they answer directly to Ayatollah Khamenei only, Iran’s Supreme Leader)
Amidst all the denials to the U.S. by Iran that it’s acting “provocatively” with their ballistic missile tests, Iranian officials state that due to U.S. interventions in the Middle East (Iran cites the 1953 coup attempt in Tehran that the U.S. engineered), they have a right to self-defense.
Will these additional sanctions on Iran hurt their missile program or are the sanctions just a minor setback? Sound off in the comments below!