Iran tests new cruise missile

An Iranian government video showed the test missile being launched and hitting a target in the desert. Tehran insists it is part of a purely defensive program and does not violate an international accord.

Iran on Saturday unveiled a new cruise missile with a range of more than 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) during celebrations marking the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, state television reported.

In the 37-second video on the ministry website, the launch was shown from different angles with the projectile finally hitting somewhere in the desert.

Read more: Iran's military power: What you need to know

"The test of the Hoveizeh cruise missile was carried out successfully at a range of 1,200 kilometers and accurately hit the set target," Defense Minister Amir Hatami said on state television, which broadcast footage of its launch.

Politics | 01.01.2019

The surface-to-surface missile, named Hoveizeh, is from the Soumar family of cruise missiles, which Iran added to its arsenal in 2015, Hatami said. Tehran says that the launch was part of a purely defensive program and that the missile was not nuclear-capable.

Read more: US policy spreads gloom in Iran

US sanctions against Iran are back in effect

Sanctions signed off

US President Trump signed an executive order on August 5 aimed at piling financial pressure on Tehran to force a "comprehensive and lasting solution" to Iranian threats, including its development of missiles and regional "malign" activities. Trump warned that those who don't wind down their economic ties to Iran "risk severe consequences."

US sanctions against Iran are back in effect

Where's the money?

The first phase, which took effect on August 7, targets the Islamic Republic's access to US banknotes, making transactions in a US-dollar dominated financial world difficult. A ban on Iran purchasing precious metals including gold further serves as an attempt to cut the country off from global markets.

US sanctions against Iran are back in effect

Planes, cars and carpets

Phase one also hits key industries including the purchase of commercial planes, cars and carpets. Iranian imports of graphite, aluminum, steel, coal, gold and some software are also affected. German automaker Daimler called off the production and sale of Mercedes-Benz trucks in Iran indefinitely after the sanctions came into force.

US sanctions against Iran are back in effect

Fuel to the fire

A second phase of sanctions — which is due to take effect on November 5 and will block Iran's oil sales — is due to cause more damage. Several countries, however, including China, India and Turkey have indicated they are not willing to entirely cut their Iranian energy purchases.

US sanctions against Iran are back in effect

'Psychological warfare'

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the United States had launched "psychological warfare" against Iran to create division amongst its people. But he insisted that Iran still can rely on its allies China and Russia to keep its oil and banking sectors afloat. He has also demanded compensation for decades of American "intervention" in the Islamic Republic.

US sanctions against Iran are back in effect

EU protection

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc is encouraging small and medium enterprises to increase their business with Iran. She said Tehran has been compliant with their nuclear-related commitments. The EU issued a "blocking statute" to protect European businesses from the impact of the sanctions.

US warnings 

The launch of the missile comes despite continuous warnings from the United States.

US President Donald Trump quit the 2015 international Iran nuclear deal last year and reimposed sanctions on the country that had been lifted under the pact in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear program.

Iran has said its missile tests do not violate the resolution.

Read more: What is the EU-Iran payment vehicle INSTEX?

Related Subjects

Iran has voluntarily limited the range of its missiles to 2,000 kilometers — a distance sufficient to reach Israel and Western bases in the Middle East.

But Washington says that although Iran has met the terms of the deal, the accord was too generous and failed to limit Iran's ballistic missile program or curb what the US says is interference in regional affairs.

Washington and its allies have accused Tehran of pursuing enhanced missile capabilities that also threaten Europe.

Iran's Supreme National Security Council secretary, Admiral Ali Shamkhani, on Tuesday said it has "no intention of increasing the range" of its missiles.

law/ng (AFP, AP, Reuters)