ANKARA (REUTERS) - Iran's ballistic-missile programme will never stop under any circumstances and Teheran has missiles ready to be fired, said a senior commander of the country's elite Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) according to state TV on Thursday (March 10).
"Iran's missile programme will not stop under any circumstances... The IRGC has never accepted the UN Security Council resolutions on Iran's missile work... we are always ready to defend the country against any aggressor. Iran will not turn into Yemen, Iraq or Syria," Brigadier-General Amir Ali Hajizadeh told state TV late on Wednesday.
The IRGC test-fired several ballistic missiles on Tuesday and Wednesday, state media reported. The tests are seen as a challenge to a United Nations resolution and the 2015 nuclear deal with six major powers, under which Teheran agreed to restrict its atomic programme in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
Iran said on Thursday that its test-firing of the missiles, designed to be able to hit Israel, were not a violation of the landmark nuclear deal, state TV quoted a senior official as saying.
"Iran's missile programme and its test-firing of missiles in the past days during a military drill are not against its nuclear commitments and the nuclear deal reached with the six powers," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi-Ansari.
The test-firing of several missiles since Tuesday were part of a major military exercise that the IRGC said were aimed at displaying the country's "deterrent power and its ability to confront any threat".
"The missiles were fired from northern Iran and hit targets in the south-east of the country," Mr Hajizadeh told state TV. "Some of the missiles carried 24 warheads and one tonne of TNT."
Secretary of State John Kerry spoke on Wednesday with Iran's foreign minister about the test-firing of two ballistic missiles, a State Department spokesman said.
The IRGC maintains dozens of short and medium-range ballistic missiles, the largest stock in the Middle East. It says they are solely for defensive use with conventional, non-nuclear warheads.