Iran confirmed that it had carried out a recent test of a medium-range ballistic missile after Western powers sharply criticized a December 1 launch.
“We are continuing our missile tests and this recent one was a significant test,” Fars news agency reported on Tuesday, December 11, citing Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps aerospace commander Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh.
“The U.S. reaction showed that it was a big thing for them and that it upset them,” the news agency said, adding that Iran carried out between 40 and 50 missile tests a year.
Iran has pressed on with its ballistic missile program after reining in much of its nuclear program under a landmark 2015 deal with major powers.
A United Nations Security Council resolution adopted after the agreement calls on Iran to refrain from testing missiles capable of carrying a nuclear weapon, but does not specifically bar Tehran from missile launches. The resolution also urges full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear agreement.
The U.N. Security Council convened at the request of France and the United Kingdom on December 4 to discuss the latest test which both governments described as “provocative” and “inconsistent” with Resolution 2231.
The U.K. said that the types of missiles fired had capabilities that “go way beyond legitimate defensive needs.”
Iran has developed several types of ballistic missiles with a range of up to 3,000 km (1,875 miles) – sufficient to reach Israel and Western bases across the region.
Hajizadeh did not specify the date of the latest test or say which types of missile were fired.
The United States, which quit the nuclear deal in May, described the test as an outright “violation” of Resolution 2231 and called on the Security Council to condemn it.
But veto-wielding Russia has defended Iran’s right to carry out the missile tests, and the December 4 meeting ended with no joint statement or any plan for follow-up action.
The council is due to meet again on December 19 for a regular review of the resolution’s implementation.
Iran has received regular certifications of compliance with the provisions of the nuclear deal from the U.N. atomic watchdog.
Western criticism has focused instead on Tehran’s missile program and its military interventions in the region.
With reporting from AFP