Iran fires missiles, US Congress to push for sanctions

The launch comes amid reports that the released footage appears to the same as a previous launch in October

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Iran launched several ballistic missiles during a military exercise on Tuesday, the official IRNA news agency reported, before the US Congress said lawmakers would push for new sanctions.

In response, US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said on Tuesday that lawmakers would continue to press for new sanctions against Tehran “until the regime ends its violent, provocative behavior against the US and our allies.”

Ryan, whose Republican party opposed the international nuclear agreement the Obama administration reached with Iran last year, said Iran’s latest reported missile test violated international law.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington would review the incident and, if it is confirmed, raise it in the U.N. Security Council and seek an “appropriate response.”

“We also continue to aggressively apply our unilateral tools to counter threats from Iran’s missile program,” Toner added, in a possible reference to additional U.S. sanctions.

An Iranian state television report showed a missile being fired from a fortified underground silo at night time. The presenter said it was a medium-range Qiam-1 missile, and the test took place in the early hours of Tuesday.

The report said the Guards had fired several missiles from silos across the country, though it only showed footage of one. “The missiles struck a target 700 km away,” said Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC’s aerospace arm.

State-run Press TV had earlier shown footage of the Emad missile, Iran’s most advanced model under development, being fired. However, that footage appeared to be of the earlier October launch that triggered the U.S. sanctions.

US and French officials said a missile test by Iran would violate UN Security Council resolution 2231, which calls on Iran not to conduct “any activity” related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

However, Washington said that a fresh missile test would not violate the Iran nuclear deal itself, under which Tehran agreed to restrict its atomic program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. The deal was endorsed in resolution 2231.

It is unlikely the Security Council would take action on Iranian missile tests, diplomats say.

While most of its 15 members would agree with the United States and France about a likely violation of resolution 2231, Russia and China, which have veto power, made clear during negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal they did not agree with continuing the UN restrictions on Tehran’s missile program and arms trade.

(With the Associated Press and Reuters)

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