Iran’s provocative actions have threatened the free world, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Saturday after Tehran claimed to have tested a ballistic missile with multiple warheads capable of hitting Israel.“This Iranian missile launch is an act of provocation and defiance against the United States and its allies, as well as an attempt to test them,” Liberman said, adding that it “is also further proof of Iranian aspirations to become a world power that threatens not only the Middle East, but all the countries of the free world.” He warned against the day when such a ballistic missile carries a nuclear warhead.“Imagine what would happen if Iran would obtain nuclear weapons, something which it strives to do. We must not allow this to happen,” said Liberman.
The new ballistic missile has a range of 2,000 km. The distance by air between Israel and Iran is 1,800 km.Iran said Saturday it would keep developing its arsenal, despite US pressure to stop.The United States has imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, saying its missile tests violate a UN resolution that calls on Tehran not to undertake activities related to missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Iran says it has no such plans.Iran said in its announcement on Saturday that the Khorramshahr missile could carry several warheads.State broadcaster IRIB carried footage of the missile test without giving its time and location. It included video from an on-board camera it said showed the detachment of the cone that carries multiple warheads.“You are seeing images of the successful test of the Khorramshahr ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km. – the latest missile of our country,” state television said, adding that this was Iran’s third missile with such a range.The Khorramshahr missile was first displayed at a military parade on Friday, where President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would strengthen its missile capabilities.Britain also voiced concerns about the latest test.“Extremely concerned by reports of Iran missile test, which is inconsistent with UN resolution 2231. Call on Iran to halt provocative acts,” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wrote on Twitter.Trump told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that Iran was building its missile capability and accused it of exporting violence to Yemen, Syria and other parts of the Middle East.He also criticized a 2015 pact that the United States and other world powers had struck with Iran in which Tehran had agreed to restrict its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.Iran’s defense minister said on Saturday that foreign pressure would not affect Iran’s missile program.“On the path to improve our country’s defensive capacity, we will certainly not be the least affected by any threats and we won’t ask anyone’s permission,” Brig.-Gen. Amir Hatami said in remarks carried by state television.The US says Tehran’s ballistic missile tests violated a UN resolution that endorsed the nuclear deal. Iran denies that its missile development breaches the resolution and says its missiles are not designed to carry nuclear weapons.“The weight of the Khorramshahr missile’s warhead has been announced to be 1,800 kilos... making it Iran’s most powerful missile for defense and retaliation against any aggressive enemy,” state television said.On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the United Nations that “Iran is developing ballistic missiles to threaten the entire world,” when he addressed the opening session of the General Assembly in New York.“We must also stop Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and roll back its growing aggression in the region,” Netanyahu said.The deal between Tehran and the six world powers, including the US, he said, allowed Iran to develop conventional weapons and also retained its ability to become a nuclear power.The deal has to be amended and or nixed so sanctions can be reimposed on Iran that will force it to halt its development of ballistic missile and dismantle its nuclear capabilities, Netanyahu said.
TV coverage of Iranian missile test, September 23, 2017 (Reuters)