Iran expands ballistic missile programme

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The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps has announced it will expand Iran’s ballistic missile programme, according to a report in the Tasnim news agency.

The IRGC issued a statement that said:  “Iran’s ballistic missile program will expand and it will continue with more speed in reaction to Trump’s hostile approach towards this revolutionary organisation [the Guards].”

Missile tests are not prohibited by the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) but UN Security Council Resolution 2231 calls upon Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology”. It is this specific prohibition that has led the US, Britain, France and Germany to complaint to the UN about Iran’s ballistic missile programme that they argue is “in defiance” of UN Security Council Resolution 2231. They believe that such missiles are designed to carry a nuclear warhead. Iran argues that it cannot be testing missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons as it has ceased its nuclear weapons programme.

In related news,  EU leaders issued a joint statement of commitment to the JCPoA with Iran, at a summit in Brussels yesterday. The leaders of the 28 EU member states said: “The European Council reaffirms its full commitment to the Iran nuclear deal and endorses the statement by the foreign affairs council of October 16, 2017.” EU leaders also said that the 2015 deal a pillar of efforts to reduce the global nuclear threat.

Earlier this month the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said that “we are working as Europeans to keep the Iran nuclear deal going”. Last week, Us President Donald Trump did not certify that Iran was in compliance with the nuclear deal, and gave Congress 60 days to reimpose economic sanctions on Iran that were lifted as part of the deal.