By Ali Kushki

IRGC to unveil first surface-to-surface ballistic missile  

May 26, 2017

TEHRAN – Days after Washington expressed hope for an end to Iran’s missile program under reelected President Hassan Rouhani, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said it will unveil its first surface-to-surface ballistic missile some time in the future, without elaborating. 

“The first ground-to-ground ballistic missile to be unveiled in the future will be named ‘Dezful’,” Fars news agency quoted Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Guard’s airspace division, as saying. 

Hajizadeh was making the comments in the city of Dezful, southwestern Iran, which is said to have come under first ground-to-ground missile attack by the Iraqi army in mid-1981, hence, named “the city of missiles”. 

The commander further said: "Iran's third underground factory has been built by the Guards in recent years…” and “we will continue to further develop our missile capabilities forcefully.”

In October 2015, Iranian state TV showed the first footage of a secret underground missile base with ready-to-fire missiles on the back of trucks, said to be 500 meters (1,600 feet) underground and only the “tip of the iceberg” of the Guard’s military might.

“The words of American merchants have no value for us,” Hajizadeh said, a reference to the recent visit to Saudi Arabia by U.S. President Donald Trump, during which arms sales worth $110 billion were concluded. 

The remarks are likely to fan tensions between the two countries after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Saturday in Saudi Arabia he would hope that newly reelected Rouhani “puts an end to their ballistic missile testing.” 

IRGC senior commander says Iran has built its third underground factory in recent years and will continue to further develop our missile capabilities forcefully. Responding to Tillerson, Rouhani highlighted in a news conference last week that Tehran would continue its ballistic missile program as “our missiles are for peace and for defense.” 

Rouhani said, “American officials should know that whenever we need to technically test a missile, we will do so and won’t wait for their permission.” 

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the most sweeping sanctions against Iran, a measure claimed to be punishing Iran over its ballistic missile program, alleged support for terrorism and human rights violations.

Tehran and Washington have traded barbs over missile launches regularly since the inauguration of the Trump administration. 

Iran says its missile program is for self-defense only and does not violate an historic nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers in 2015, accordingly, not “up for negotiation”.

The nuclear deal resolved sanctions against Iran in exchange for it rolling back its nuclear program. 

The Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the deal, calls upon Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology,” until eight years after the implementation of the deal. 

In February Washington reacted strongly to Iran’s first missile test under Trump’s presidency, saying it “was officially putting Tehran on notice.” 
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, called the test "unacceptable", asking the UN Security Council to look into the test. 

The emergency meeting, however, did not come up with any specific decision, recommending it be studied at committee level. 

In comments posted on his twitter on March 15, 2016, Zarif said if Iran had missiles, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein may not have invaded the nascent Islamic Republic in 1980.

“If we had missiles during Saddam’s war on us, they may have discouraged or at least reduced his indiscriminate attacks on our civilians.” 

“Iran hasn't attacked any country in 250 years. But when Saddam rained missiles on us and gassed our people for 8 yrs., no one helped us.” 

Ak/PA  

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