In a move that could further irk the United States and its allies, Iran aired fresh footage Tuesday of an underground bunker housing its ballistic missiles. The release of the video, which shows senior Iranian officials touring the bunker, comes even as the U.S. mulls imposing sanctions against Tehran for missile tests carried out in October.
In the video, which was broadcast by the Iranian state television, parliament speaker Ali Larijani and Revolutionary Guards officers can be seen inspecting the Emad precision-guided missile, which has a range of over 1,000 miles and is at the center of the festering dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.
The U.S., which, along with five other countries, finalized a nuclear deal with Iran earlier this year, claims that the Emad missile, tested by Iran in October, is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. This, U.S. officials say, violates United Nations Security Council sanctions, which places an 8-year restriction on work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons.
Iran, however, has played down the allegations, stating that its missiles are not designed to carry nuclear weapons.
Conventional ballistic missiles used by Iran are not within the ambit of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which was signed after protracted negotiation last year in Vienna.
While Iran has stuck to the key terms of the nuclear deal, which, among other things, require it to accept significant restrictions on its nuclear program, it has also vowed to march on with its missile program, denouncing the possible U.S. sanctions as “hostile and illegal intervention.”
“The armed forces need to quickly and significantly increase their missile capability,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wrote in a letter to Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan last month. “The Defense Ministry, with the support of the armed forces, is tasked with putting in place new programs by all available means to increase the country’s missile capability.”