New Missile Depot May Spark New Sanctions Against Iran

DUBAI (Reuters) -
This picture released by the official website of the Iranian Defense Ministry on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, claims to show the launching of an Emad long-range ballistic surface-to-surface missile in an undisclosed location. Iran successfully test fired a new guided long-range ballistic surface-to-surface missile, state TV reported on Sunday. It was the first such a test since Iran and world powers reach a historical nuclear deal. Iran's Defense Minister Gen. Hossein Dehghan, told the channel that the liquid-fuel missile "will obviously boost the strategic deterrence capability of our armed forces." (Iranian Defense Ministry via AP)
This picture released by the official site of the Iranian Defense Ministry on Oct. 11, 2015, claims to show the launching of an Emad long-range ballistic surface-to-surface missile. (Iranian Defense Ministry via AP)

Iranian state media unveiled a new underground missile depot on Tuesday. The depot contains Emad precision-guided missiles which the United States says can take a nuclear warhead and therefore violate the 2010 U.N. Security Council resolution.

The defiant move to publicize and boast about Iran’s missile program seemed certain to irk the United States just as it plans to dismantle nearly all sanctions against Iran under July’s breakthrough nuclear agreement.

Tasnim news agency and state media video said the underground facility, situated within mountains, and run by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, was inaugurated by the speaker of parliament, Ali Larijani. They released a one-minute video of the facility that also contained older footage of another underground missile depot which was inaugurated last October.

Despite this move, Iran has abided by the main terms of the nuclear deal, which require it to give up materials that world powers feared could be used to make an atomic weapon and require it to accept other restrictions on its nuclear program.

Yet last week President Hassan Rouhani ordered his defense minister to expand the missile program further. The Iranian missiles under development are much more accurate than the current generation. Experts say that this is likely to improve their effectiveness with conventional warheads.

The Revolutionary Guards’ second-in-command, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, said last Friday that Iran’s depots and underground facilities are so full that they do not know where to store their new missiles.

U.S. officials say Washington will respond to the Emad tests with fresh sanctions against Iranian individuals and businesses linked to the program.