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Iran Admits It Test Fired New Missile, Putting Nuclear Deal In Jeopardy

After yesterday US officials reported that Iran conducted a nuclear ballistic missile test on Sunday, which some claimed would be another violation of the UN resolution and Obama’s nuclear deal, on Wednesday Iran’s defense minister admitted that the Islamic Republic had indeed tested a new missile, but added the test did not breach Tehran’s nuclear accord with world powers or a U.N. Security Council resolution endorsing the pact.

Iran has test-fired several ballistic missiles since the nuclear deal in 2015, but this is the first during U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration. Trump said in his election campaign that he would stop Iran’s missile program. Furthermore, the confirmed launch comes at a precarious time, with president Trump seemingly looking for excuses to scrap the Iran deal, which could potentially lead to the reestablishment of Iran sanctions and the halt of Iranian oil exports to global markets, taking away as much as 1 million barrels of daily supply.

“The recent test was in line with our plans and we will not allow foreigners to interfere in our defense affairs,” Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan said, according to Tasnim news agency . “The test did not violate the nuclear deal or the (U.N.)resolution 2231,” he said.

A U.S. official said on Monday that Iran test-launched a medium-range ballistic missile on Sunday and it exploded after traveling 630 miles (1,010 km). Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif neither confirmed nor denied the U.S. report, but said on Tuesday that Tehran would never use its ballistic missiles to attack another country.

The U.N. Security Council resolution, adopted in a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear activities, “called upon” Iran to refrain from work on ballistic missiles “designed to” deliver nuclear weapons. Critics say the language does not make this obligatory. 

However, the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers does not include provisions preventing Iran from conducting ballistic missile tests.

Ultimately, it will be up to Trump to decide whether and how to retaliate to Iran’s latest show of force, which comes just days after Trump announced travellers from Iran could be temporarily banned from entering the US, sparking retaliation on behalf of Iran which blocked US visitors to the Islamic Republic.

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