Iran vows to continue missile tests despite U.S. sanctions

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned of regional escalation after Iran conducted a missile test

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned of regional escalation after Iran conducted a missile test

Iran has long refused to compromise on its missile development programs, recently revealing that the country's missile forces can deliver a payload at a distance of some 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles). "We will continue to both develop and test missiles".

Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said on Sunday that the Islamic Republic is now one of the world's topmost missile powers despite being subject to severe sanctions during the past 40 years.

Earlier this week, Washington's Iran envoy Brian Hook urged the European Union to employ sanctions that target Tehran's missile program as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Brussels for talks with European partners.

"As we have been warning for some time, Iran's missile testing and missile proliferation is growing", Pompeo said.

Mark Fitzpatrick, the executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) says despite Washington's claims, Iran's missile testing activities do not violate UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

"Iran has launched missiles that are capable of carrying multiple warheads, including a nuclear weapon", he said.

"We are accumulating risk of escalation in the region if we fail to restore deterrence", he warned. "It will require an assertive America and leadership from not only my country but of democracies around the world", Mike Pompeo said in a foreign policy speech.

His comments Thursday were only the latest in a series of harsh rebukes by the Trump White House against Tehran's vigorous pursuit of its interests across the globe, since the administration's withdrawal from the landmark Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran.

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Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi also said Iranian missiles were purely defensive and added, "There is no Security Council resolution prohibiting missile program and missile tests by Iran".

It further noted that the USA unlawfully quit the nuclear agreement, and is in absolute violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stated that when treaties are broken, the violators must be "confronted, and the treaties must be fixed or discarded".

Several EU countries have denounced the recent United States sanctions, however, and continue to work to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal, even though they have also criticised Iranian positions on other matters.

She added, "The global community can not keep turning a blind eye every time Iran blatantly ignores Security Council resolutions".

Pompeo's address, which was met with polite applause, rejected concerns among many traditional US allies that Trump is undermining the West by withdrawing from climate, free-trade and arms control accords. The European parties to the nuclear deal have refused to pull out and said they would seek ways to continue trade with Iran.

Insisting it would only use missiles for defensive purposes, Iran has repeatedly rejected negotiations over its missile program.

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