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Iran launched a ballistic missile for the first time in 16 months, new report reveals

A test-fire of the Fateh-110, an Iranian Ballistic single-stage solid-propellant, surface-to-surface missile. (Hossein Velayati/Wikimedia Commons)
August 13, 2018

Following months of tensions and threats between the United States and Iran, a new report revealed late last week that Iran defiantly returned to its missile program.

Last week, Iran test-fired a ballistic missile for the first time in more than a year, according to a Fox News report on Friday. Iran’s latest missile launch is the first since they launched two Fateh-110 missiles in March 2017.

At least three U.S. officials with information on the launch told Fox that a Fateh-110 short-range ballistic missile was launched at the same time a massive naval exercise in the Strait of Hormuz was carried out by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

More than 100 Iranian naval boats and ships were spotted in the Strait for the exercise, which took place from Aug. 2 to Aug. 6. The exercise was one of Iran’s annual naval exercises, but took place months ahead of its usual schedule, and with a greater than usual military presence.

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While the naval exercise was ongoing, U.S. spy satellites detected the launch of the Iranian missile from an IRGC base in Bandar-e-Jask. Officials said the missile traveled more than 100 miles on a path over the Strait of Hormuz, and landed on a desert test range. An official called it a “shore-to-shore” launch.

Gen. Joseph Votel, a top commander of U.S. forces serving in the Middle East, told reporters at the Pentagon: “I think it’s pretty clear to us that they were trying to use that exercise to send a message to us that as we approach this period of the sanctions, they had some capabilities.”

Another U.S. official said: “It’s routine to see Iran doing a missile test during this annual drill.”

The naval exercise was conducted early following Iran’s threats on blocking the Strait of Hormuz, where more than 18 million barrels of oil pass through each day. It’s possible the exercise was moved up on account of the missile test, and as a demonstration of military capabilities amid threats.

U.S. officials were closely monitoring the exercise. Iranian forces were said to be practicing “swarm tactics,” which officials say could be used in shutting down the Strait.

The missile test is a violation of a U.N. resolution, however. Just days after the Iran nuclear deal was signed, U.N. Resolution 2231 was implemented on July 20, 2015, and blocks Iran from conducting ballistic missile tests for eight years until July 2023.

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Some say the language in the U.N. resolution is not strict enough to prohibit such activity. The text of the resolution says Iran is “called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”