Missiles and a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran.
(photo credit: NAZANIN TABATABAEE YAZDI/ TIMA VIA REUTERS)
LONDON - Iran has extended the range of its land-to-sea ballistic missiles to 700km (435 miles), a senior Iranian military official said on Tuesday, as tensions over the weapons rise with the United States.
US President Donald Trump withdrew from an international agreement on Iran's nuclear program in May, saying it was flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran's ballistic missiles program or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.
Iran, which says its missile program is purely defensive, has threatened to disrupt oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if Washington tries to strangle Tehran’s oil exports.
"We have managed to make land-to-sea ballistic, not cruise, missiles that can hit any vessel or ship from 700km," Amirali Hajizadeh, the head of the Revolutionary Guards' airspace division, was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.
He did not give details on the previous range of the missiles. In 2008, Iran displayed a ground-to-sea missile that it said could travel about 290km.
Speaking in a teleconference call on Monday, US special envoy on Iran Brian Hook said that Tehran's ballistic missile program was exacerbating tensions in Yemen, Iraq and Syria. "We are accumulating risk of regional conflict if we do not do more to deter Iran's missile proliferation in the Middle East," Hook said.
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