U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of testing a ballistic missile capable of hitting parts of Europe, and issued a new warning about the risk posed by a regime that President Donald Trump's administration has called a top threat to global security.
"As we have been warning for some time, Iran's missile testing and missile proliferation is growing," Pompeo said in a statement Saturday. "We are accumulating risk of escalation in the region if we fail to restore deterrence."
Pompeo described the weapon tested as a medium-range ballistic missile capable of delivering multiple warheads to the Middle East and parts of Europe. Iran fired the missile earlier Saturday, and it's capable of carrying a nuclear payload, according to a senior U.S. official who asked not to be identified discussing nonpublic findings.
Trump's administration has reimposed economic sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from a 2015 deal that imposed limits on the country's nuclear program. The U.S. has said the deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, failed to curb what it calls the Islamic Republic's "malign activity" in the region and its missile program.
Pompeo said the latest test violates Security Council Resolution 2231, the document that enshrined the nuclear deal. He said that resolution "bans" Iran from engaging in ballistic missile development. In fact, the document only "calls upon" Iran not to do so -- a distinction that's led Iran to claim its tests are legal.
The test comes as Pompeo's State Department has intensified its messaging campaign in a bid to isolate Iran. Last week, Brian Hook, the department's special envoy for Iran, accused the country of violating a weapons-export ban. Speaking at a U.S. military base in Washington, Hook said Iran's proliferation activities are getting worse, and called for a global response.
Also Saturday, Iran launched a domestically built destroyer in the Persian Gulf capable of traveling some five months without refueling, state TV reported.
The 1,300-ton vessel named Sahand after a mountain in northern Iran took six years to build, according to the report. The TV report showed a ceremony marking the inauguration with a three-gun salute at the southern port of Bandar Abbas, at the mouth of the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea.
The Sahand has a helicopter landing pad, is 105 yards long and can cruise at 25 knots. It is equipped with surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles as well as anti-aircraft batteries and sophisticated radar and radar evading capabilities, the report said.
Since 1992, Iran has been working to build a self-sufficient military, reportedly producing its own jet fighters, tanks, missiles and light submarines as well as torpedoes.
Iran added the first domestically made destroyer to its fleet in 2010 in the Persian Gulf. Reportedly Iran has five other destroyers.
On Thursday, Iran's navy announced the acquisition of two mini-submarines designed for operation in shallow waters such as the Persian Gulf, including one new sub and an overhauled one.
Information for this article was contributed by Laura Curtis and Nick Wadhams of Bloomberg News; and by staff members of The Associated Press.
A Section on 12/02/2018
Print Headline: Pompeo says Iran's test-firing of missile raises regional risk