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US official says Iran test fires Shahab-3 ballistic missile

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

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

An unnamed U.S. official has told Fox News that Iran has test fired a Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile, which if confirmed would likely add to already high tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Fox late on July 25 quoted another senior U.S. administration official as saying that “we are aware of reports of a projectile launched from Iran and have no further comment at this time.”

The first official said the launch took place on July 24 and flew nearly 1,000 kilometers from the southern part of the country northward to an area near the capital, Tehran.

The official said it is suspected the test was part of Iran’s efforts to improve the range and accuracy of their missiles.

The report added that it was not immediately clear if the test was in violation of any sanctions against Iran. In the past, Washington and its allies have asserted that Shahab-3 firings do violate sanctions, while Iran’s ally, Russia, has said they do not.

Tensions have surged between Washington and Tehran since United States last year withdraw from a 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and reimposed sanctions after the U.S. administration said the deal would enable Tehran to produce a nuclear weapon in a few years. The sanctions have harmed the Iranian economy.

Trump and other U.S. officials have said Iran’s continued testing of ballistic missiles violated the spirit of the accord, claiming the technology can be used to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its missile program is strictly for defensive purposes.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he favors maintaining the nuclear deal but wants new talks to encompass Iran’s ballistic missile activities.