Iran confirms ballistic missile test launch

By Ed Adamczyk  |  Updated Feb. 1, 2017 at 12:42 PM
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Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Iran confirmed Wednesday it conducted a ballistic missile test launch, and rejected criticism of the launch from Israel and the United States.

"The recent test has been in line with our [defense] program, and we do not let any foreigner intervene in our defense affairs," Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said on Wednesday.

U.S. officials said the test launch occurred Sunday near Semnan, Iran, 150 miles east of Tehran. The medium-range missile flew about 600 miles before it exploded.

The launch was seen by Israel and the United States as a violation of a United Nations resolution, passed in 2016 after the landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers, plus the EU, prohibiting Iranian missile tests for eight years. Tehran has said such tests – Sunday's was Iran's second test launch since the resolution – are within the framework of the resolution. In U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, Iran is "called upon" to avoid actions related to missiles "designed to be capable of" delivering nuclear warheads.

The missile is not constructed to carry a nuclear warhead and Iran does not have missiles of that capability, Dehqan said, adding that "The test is in no way in contravention of Resolution 2231."

The Israeli and U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations both were critical of the test launch, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday he will suggest new sanctions on Iran when he meets with U.S. President Donald Trump, later in February. There is concern that Iran could aim its missiles at Israel, which is roughly 600 miles away. Iran has maintained its missiles are for defensive purposes only.

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