Iran issues vague denial about reported missile test

Associated Press

Tehran, Iran — Iran’s defense minister issued a vague denial after a media outlet close to the military said Monday that it had test-fired a ballistic missile with a range of 1,250 miles two weeks ago.

Gen. Hossein Dehghan told the official IRNA news agency that the military has not conducted a missile test “with the range that was published in the media,” without elaborating. He did not say whether the military had conducted a recent missile test.

The earlier report was carried by Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency, which is close to the Revolutionary Guard. The Guard is in charge of Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Tasnim quoted Gen. Ali Abdollahi as saying the latest missiles could strike within eight yards of their target. “Eight meters means nothing, it means it’s without any error,” he said, without elaborating.

Iran has long boasted of having missiles that can travel 2,000 kilometers, placing much of the Middle East, including Israel, in range. Iran says its missiles, which could also strike U.S. bases in the region, are key to deterring a U.S. or Israeli attack.

In March, Iran test-fired two ballistic missiles — one emblazoned with the phrase “Israel must be wiped out” in Hebrew — setting off an international outcry.

The nuclear deal reached with world powers last year does not include provisions against missile tests. When it came into effect in January, the Security Council lifted most U.N. sanctions against Tehran, including a 2010 ban on testing missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The council nevertheless adopted a resolution last July which “calls on” Iran not to carry out such tests.

The United States has maintained and expanded its own sanctions related to Iran’s missile program.