Iran Rebuffs Europe on Missile Development

Just days after the European Union devised a means for Iran to circumvent American sanctions, Iran rebuffed European criticisms of its missile development program, Reuters reported Tuesday.

On Monday, the EU had called on Iran to put an “immediate end” to its “unacceptable behavior,” including targeting opponents on European soil, advancing its ballistic missile program, and supporting the Assad regime in Syria.

Iran rejected the charges that it was responsible for attempting to kill dissidents on European soil as “empty and groundless,” even though four people, including an Iranian diplomat, have been arrested for a Paris bomb plot last summer.

The Islamic Republic also dismissed European concerns about its ballistic missile development program. Iran’s foreign ministry said that the nation’s ballistic missile program was a “domestic affair,” necessitated by its defensive needs. However, United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which implemented the 2015 nuclear deal, explicitly called on Iran not to develop ballistic missiles.

The recent launch of the Hoveizeh, a cruise missile with the reported range of 1,350 kilometers (about 840 miles), is a sign of Iran’s increasingly “diverse missile capability,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, assessed in a paper published Monday.

Taleblu explained that the exclusive focus on Iran’s ballistic missile program is a mistake because the varied capabilities of its different advanced missiles give Iran the ability “to deliver both conventional and unconventional payloads, as well as take advantage of different flight trajectories – be they cruise or ballistic.”

He also described missiles as a “key pillar” in Iran’s defense strategy. These missiles can be used not only as a deterrent but also “to coerce and intimidate regional adversaries.”

[Photo: Tasnim News ]