An Iranian general warned the United States not to cross any “red lines” on the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.
“The White House should know that defense capacities and missile power, specially at the present juncture where plots and threats are galore, is among the Iranian nation’s red lines and a backup for the country’s national security and we don’t allow anyone to violate it,” said Iranian Deputy Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Maassoud Jazzayeri, according to Iran’s Fars news agency.
Jazzayeri also claimed that President Barack Obama made and then broke promises by saying that Iran would only get sanctions relief by scrapping its ballistic missile program. It isn’t entirely clear what Jazzayeri was referring to. The U.S. granted relief to Iran for all nuclear-related sanctions, which the White House insisted are unrelated to ballistic missiles, in January. The Obama administration also imposed sanctions on Iran for an October 2015 ballistic launch in violation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1929 that month.
The Post added that following the launch of two Qadr ballistic missiles in March, Iranian Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that “[the] reason we designed our missiles with a range of 2000 km is to be able to hit our enemy the Zionist regime from a safe distance.” The missiles had the phrase “Israel must be wiped off the Earth” inscribed on them in Hebrew.
The U.S. and European Union have delayed attempting to impose any sanctions on Iran for the March launches, partially because they are governed by Security Council resolution 2231, which implemented last year’s nuclear deal and has weaker language calling on Iran not to pursue ballistic missile development. The Security Council has requested more technical information about the launches to determine whether or not they violated 2231.
In the absence of any U.N. sanctions, there is a growing bipartisan congressional effort to impose unilateral American sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program.
Despite its connections to Iran’s nuclear program — a ballistic missile is needed to carry a nuclear warhead — Iran has consistently refused to limit its ballistic missile development. President Hassan Rouhani said last year after the nuclear agreement that Iran would not abide by any resolution that limited its weapons development.
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