Iran says it has built third underground
ballistic missile factory
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[May 25, 2017]
By Parisa Hafezi
ANKARA (Reuters) - Iran has built a third
underground ballistic missile production factory and will keep
developing its missile program, the semi-official Fars news agency
quoted a senior commander of the elite Revolutionary Guard as saying.
The development is likely to fuel tensions with the United States in a
week when President Donald Trump, on his first foreign trip, has called
Iran a sponsor of militant groups and a threat to countries across the
"Iran's third underground factory has been built by the Guards in recent
years ... We will continue to further develop our missile capabilities
forcefully," Fars quoted Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Guard’s airspace
division, as saying.
Since taking office in January, Trump has imposed new sanctions on Iran
in response to its recent missile launches, putting Tehran "on notice".
Iran has reacted defiantly. Newly re-elected pragmatist President Hassan
Rouhani said on Monday: "Iran does not need the permission of the United
States to conduct missile tests".
Iran's Sunni Muslim Gulf neighbors and its arch-enemy Israel have
expressed concerns over Tehran's ballistic missile program, seeing it as
a threat to regional security.
In 2015, Iranian state TV aired footage of underground tunnels with
ready-to-fire missiles on the back of trucks, saying the facility was
one of hundreds of underground missile bases around the country.
"It is natural that our enemies America and the Zionist regime (Israel)
are angry with our missile program because they want Iran to be in a
weak position," Hajizadeh said.
Most nuclear-related sanctions on Iran were lifted last year after
Tehran fulfilled commitments under a 2015 deal with major powers to
scale back its nuclear program - an agreement that Trump has frequently
criticized as being too soft on Tehran. But Iran remains subject to a
U.N. arms embargo and other restrictions.
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An Iranian national flag flutters in Tehran April 15, 2011.
Two months after implementation of the deal, the Guards test-fired
two ballistic missiles that it said were designed to be able to hit
Iran says its missile program is not in defiance with a U.N.
resolution that calls on it to refrain from work on ballistic
missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.
"Along with improving our defense capabilities, we will continue our
missile tests and missile production. The next missile to be
produced is a surface-to-surface missile," said Hajizadeh, without
In retaliation for the new U.S. sanctions over its ballistic missile
program, Iran this month added nine American individuals and
companies to its own list of 15 U.S. companies for alleged human
rights violations and cooperation with Israel.
(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)
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