Iran Tests Ballistic Missile, Controversy Ensues

According to reports from two US defense officials, Iran recently test-fired a single Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile. This represents the first of this type of launch since President Trump ascended to the presidency. The launch took place on Sunday at a test site outside Semnan, which is about 140 miles east of Tehran. The US officials stated that the missile flew 600 miles before exploding, which represents a failed test of a reentry vehicle.

The Foreign Minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, did not confirm or deny whether the test actually took place. However, he used the opportunity to reiterate that Iran would “never use ballistic missiles to attack another country.”

The test brought predicable reactions from around the world. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (a fierce opponent of the Iranian nuclear program) called it a “flagrant violation” of the Security Council resolution which ratified the Iran nuclear deal that “must not go unanswered.” He also stated that he will bring up the possibility of bringing back sanctions on Iran when he meets with President Trump next month.

However, it also brought on a debate as to whether the test violates the resolution at all. Of course, Israeli officiated say yes, but the rest of the world is a little more hesitant. As the resolution only “call upon” Iran to cease testing ballistic missiles, this provision is seen as a suggestion rather than a mandate. Meanwhile, President Trump is yet to make an official statement on the test.