Iran missile tests: what really happened?

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) test-fired several ballistic missiles on March 8, state television said, threatening the nuclear deal that just took effect earlier this year. A state television report showed a Emad missile, Iran's most advanced model, being fired from a fortified underground silo at night time. The presenter said it was a medium-range Qiam-1 missile. However, that footage appeared to be of an earlier October launch that triggered new US sanctions. The report said the Guards had fired several missiles from silos across the country, though it only showed footage of one.

The new US sanctions over Iran's missile program came just as sanctions over the nuclear program were being lifted under terms of the deal. The United Nations said the October test, which took place after the nuclear deal was reached, violated Security Council Resolution 1929, which barred Iran from undertaking any work on nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. (A subsequent test may have taken place in November.) That resolution expired when the nuclear deal was implemented in January, but was supreceded by Resolution 2231—passed last July, and to take effect upon the deal's enactment. Under Resolution 2231, Iran is "called upon" not to undertake any work on missiles "designed to" deliver nuclear weapons. Iran claims to have surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers (Reuters, Al Arabiya, BBC News, March 8; Arms Control Association, October 2015)

  1. Iran sanctions extended without Obama’s signature

    A bill renewing US sanctions against Iran for another 10 years because law Dec. 15 without President Obama's signature, under a rare mechanism that Obama had never used before. Obama says the sanctions  will not affect the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA). But the language in the nuclear agreement is unclear on whether renewal of sanctions unrelated to the nuclear program amounts to a violation of the JCPOA. (Jurist, Military Times)