Kerry raises concern to Iran on missile launches

Iran said its armed forces had fired two more ballistic missiles as it continued tests in defiance of U.S warnings

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke on Wednesday with Iran’s foreign minister about Iran’s test-firing two ballistic missiles that Tehran said were designed to be able to hit Israel, a State Department spokesman said.

“The secretary did raise his concerns today with Foreign Minister (Mohammad Javad) Zarif,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters in a daily briefing.

Before Kerry, US Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that the United States would take action against Iran if long-range ballistic missile tests Tehran said it carried out were confirmed.

“I want to reiterate, as I know people still doubt, if in fact they break the (nuclear) deal, we will act,” Biden said during a visit to Israel.

“All their conventional activity outside the deal, which is still beyond the deal, we will and are attempting to act wherever we can find it.”

Meanwhile, the White House is aware of and reviewing reports of an additional Iranian ballistic missile test, a spokesman said on Wednesday, adding that the administration will determine an appropriate response to the test.

At a daily press briefing with reporters, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it would not be a surprise if there are additional missile launches over the next several days.

“We will continue to redouble our efforts with our allies and partners in the region to try to limit Iran’s ability to continue to develop their missile program,” Earnest said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Iran test-fired two ballistic missiles that it said were designed to be able to hit Israel, defying US criticism of similar tests carried out the previous day.

"The reason we designed our missiles with a range of 2000 km (1,200 miles) is to be able to hit our enemy the Zionist regime from a safe distance," Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh was quoted as saying by the ISNA agency.

Iran said its armed forces had fired two more ballistic missiles as it continued tests in defiance of U.S warnings.

"Long-range Qadr-H and Qadr-F precision missiles were fired today... which destroyed targets" some 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) away, official media quoted the deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards, General Hossein Salami, as saying.

Missile sanctions were imposed a day after nuclear-related sanctions on Iran were recently lifted.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday he could not confirm Tehran's multiple tests, but warned that Washington might take unilateral or international action in response.

"The more our enemies increase the sanctions the more intense the Guards' reaction" will be, General Amir Ali Hajizadeh who heads the Revolutionary Guards' aerospace wing said on Wednesday.

"Yesterday we saw missiles fired from silos and platforms and today the launches are taking place from the heart of our Islamic land," he added.

"The reason we have designed these missiles with such a range -- 2,000 kilometers -- is to be able to hit our remote enemies, the Zionist regime," ISNA news agency quoted Hajizadeh as saying, referring to Israel.

The series of tests included short-, medium- and long-range precision guided missiles, with ranges of 300 kilometers, 500 kilometers, 800 kilometers and 2,000 kilometers, state media reported.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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