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Iran Schedules Ballistic Missile Drills in Latest Test of Nuclear Deal’s Limits

In a direct challenge to the United Nations Security Council resolution implementing the nuclear deal with Iran, the country’s military has announced plans to conduct ballistic missile exercises later this year, the semi-official Fars news agency reported today.

Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan stated that war games, including “specialized missile drilling,” will take place in both the Western and Eastern parts of the country. Fars noted that “an increasing number of Iranians are demanding the country’s Armed Forces to stage a ballistic missile drills” to reinforce Iran’s interpretation of Resolution 2231, which was unanimously adopted by the Security Council last month.

An annex of Resolution 2231 states that “Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology” for the next eight years. But according to Fars, “Iran says it has not accepted or endorsed the annex, adding that none of its ballistic missiles has been designed to carry nuclear payloads, and thus, its ballistic missile program is no way related to the paragraph.”

Iran’s foreign ministry stated after the resolution passed that it would ensure that the country’s ballistic missile program and capabilities would be “untouched and unrestricted” by the resolution.

Iran has consistently refused to negotiate about limits to its ballistic missile program, even though its program has been subject to Security Council resolutions for years. Earlier this year, the Pentagon reported that Iran was developing ballistic missiles that could be used to carry nuclear weapons.

Despite Iran’s defiant stance regarding its ballistic missile program, it committed in the deal (.pdf) to “make every effort to support the successful implementation of this [deal] including in their public statements.”

Secretary of State John Kerry admitted earlier this week that there would be no “snapback” of sanctions if Iran was caught violating weapons embargoes, including those prohibiting its purchase of ballistic missiles.

[Photo: epsil2 / YouTube ]