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Iran warns Europe not to force ‘strategic leap’ on missile range

Sardar Hossein Salami & Sardar Mohammad Bagheri & Sardar Mohammad pakpour in Great Prophet Wargame in April 2016. (Tasnim News Agency/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A top official of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) said Tehran would be forced to make a “strategic leap” in boosting the range of its missiles if Western countries try to limit them.

“If the Europeans, or anyone else, want to conspire to disarm Iran of missiles, we will be forced to make a strategic leap,” said the IRGC’s deputy commander, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, on state-run Press TV on February 2.

He warned “the Europeans and others” that they should “come to terms with the new reality of Iran’s missile might: there are no obstacles or technical limitations to us increasing [their] range.”

Salami said Iran develops its missile technology according to a “defensive strategy.”

His statements came shortly after Iran announced the “successful test” of a new cruise missile that has a range of more than 1,350 kilometers.

The test launch came on the anniversary of the Islamic republic’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Defense Minister Amir Hatami said the Hoveizeh missile — which he called the “long arm of the Islamic Republic of Iran” — had successfully hit its targets.

The test’s success could not be independently verified, and Iran frequently overstates the capabilities of its weaponry.

One of the reasons that the United States gave for withdrawing from a landmark 2015 agreement that restricted Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief was that it did not prevent Iran from developing missiles that could threaten Israel.

UN Security Council Resolution 2231, adopted in 2015, “calls upon” Tehran to refrain from developing nuclear-capable missiles for a period of eight years.

Tehran says its missiles cannot carry nuclear warheads.