DUBAI: Iran tested a new precision-guided ballistic missile today in defiance of a United Nations ban, signalling an apparent advance in Iranian attempts to improve the accuracy of its missile arsenal.
The Islamic Republic has one of the largest missile programmes in the Middle East, but its potential effectiveness has been limited by poor accuracy.
State television showed what appeared to be a successful launch of the new missile, named Emad, which will be Iran’s first precision-guided weapon with the range to strike its regional arch-enemy Israel.
The UN Security Council prohibits foreign powers from assisting Iran in developing its ballistic missile programme in any way, a ban that will remain in place under the terms of the July 14 nuclear deal that will see other sanctions lifted.
The United Nations also prohibits Iran from undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles that could deliver a nuclear warhead, which applies to the Emad, but Iranian officials have pledged to ignore the ban.
“We don’t ask permission from anyone to strengthen our defence and missile capabilities,” Dehghan said.
“Our leadership and armed forces are determined to increase our power and this is to promote peace and stability in the region. There is no intention of aggression or threats in this action,” he added.
The Islamic Republic is wary of a potential pre-emptive strike on its nuclear sites by Israel. In turn, Israel fears that a nuclear agreement Iran sealed with world powers in July may be insufficient to stop Tehran developing an atomic bomb.
The accord curbs proliferation-prone aspects of Iran’s nuclear energy programme in exchange for crippling sanctions being lifted. Iran says its nuclear activity is wholly peaceful. Israel is widely presumed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear weapons.