U.S. officials said Friday that Iran test-launched a mid-range ballistic missile earlier this week in defiance of the Trump administration, which has warned the country to curb its missile program. The test-launch was said to have taken place completely within Iran’s borders and did not pose a threat to American shipping or military bases, the officials said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has listed ending Iran’s missile program as a condition for relief from the sanctions and other measures the U.S. has taken to keep Iran in check over the past year. Tensions between the two countries have escalated since last May, when the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal brokered between Tehran and the Obama administration. One concern administration officials cited was the leeway afforded to Iran’s missile program in the deal, which focused on Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
Although missile launches are not forbidden under the nuclear deal, a United Nations Security Council resolution has called on Iran not to conduct them.
“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,” the resolution reads.
“Iran’s missiles are absolutely and under no condition negotiable with anyone or any country, period,” Iran’s United Nations spokesman, Alireza Miryousefi, wrote on Twitter.
Last month, the Trump administration deployed four bombers as well as the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier-strike group to the Persian Gulf amid fears that Iran was transporting short-range ballistic missiles in the region. The State Department also ordered all non-critical government employees to leave Iraq, saying the tensions with neighboring Iran could endanger Americans in the area.