Iran to upgrade missiles, including Russian defence system

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Iran’s Defence Minister has announced defiantly that Tehran will unveil an upgraded ballistic missile during the coming year, despite breaching United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Iran has conducted two ballistic missile tests since Tehran signed a long-term nuclear agreement with the P5+1 powers (US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) in July. Related nuclear sanctions on Iran were lifted last month. In October, Iran’s Defence Minister Hossein Dehgan confirmed that the Emad (pillar) precision-guided surface to surface missile had been successfully tested. The rocket has a reported range of just over 1,000 miles and can deliver a 750kg payload to within 500 metres of a target. In November, Iran tested the Ghadr-110, which has a range of 1,200 miles, and is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

Such tests are a breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1929, passed in 2010, which bans Iran from any ballistic missile development capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology. It is also a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, passed the day after July’s accord was signed, which compels Iran to refrain from any work on ballistic missiles for eight years. As a result, the United States last month imposed sanctions on individuals and companies associated with Iran’s ballistic missile development.

Yesterday though, Dehgan made clear that such development would continue in earnest. He told the Fars news agency, “We will unveil the next generation of Emad with improved precision in the next (Iranian) year (starting from March 20).” He claimed “The Emad missile is not a violation of the nuclear deal or any UN resolution since we will never use a nuclear warhead (on it).” Dehgan added that Iran will also within the next two months begin taking delivery of the advanced Russian S-300, considered one of the world’s premier air defence systems.

Meanwhile, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Behrouz Kamalvandi said yesterday that July’s nuclear deal would not damage the country’s nuclear industry.