Iran Conducts Missile Tests as Show of Force

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard conducted two days of missile launches in early March and was able to strike targets 1,400 km away, according to Iranian media. The tests are the first time Iran has fired ballistic missiles since signing a deal with the U.N. on its nuclear program in July. U.S. officials said the tests did not violate its own Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with the nation, but they may have been in breach of the U.N. resolution.

The Iranian Student News Agency quoted military officials as saying the missiles are designed “to hit our enemy, the Zionist regime, from a safe distance,” referring to Israel, but the display may also stand as a warning to Saudi Arabia, Iran’s other regional rival.

The U.S. will “aggressively apply […] unilateral tools to counter threats from Iran’s missile program,” according to the State Department. The test-firing of the ballistic missiles underlines a rift between Iran’s hard-line factions, which oppose normalization of relations with the West, and the moderate government of Hassan Rouhani, who is trying to have sanctions lifted and attract foreign investors.

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