The US news network CNN says Iran has test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile late Wednesday.
“Iran late Wednesday test fired a medium range ballistic missile that traveled 1,000 km,” CNN’s Barbara Starr tweeted on Thursday night, quoting a US official as saying.
“While the Shabaab-3 missile did not pose a threat to shipping or US bases, the intelligence assessment is its part of Iran’s efforts to improve the range and accuracy,” it added.
Iran has not yet confirmed the missile test, but has repeatedly said its military might poses no threat to other countries, and that its defense doctrine is based on deterrence.
Earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told CNN that Iran “will never start a war,” but “will defend its territory” against any act of aggression.
Speaking to Fareed Zakaria in New York, Zarif said Iran has never started a war and will never start one, “but we will defend ourselves and anybody who starts a war with Iran will not be the one who ends it.”
Back in March, IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami said the Islamic Republic is increasing its military power in order to counter any type of threat posed by its adversaries.
“Today the Islamic Republic has learned that it must respond to the enemy’s war on the Islamic Revolution … with the language of force and in the battleground,” he said.
The IRGC commander also noted that the country’s defense power is being strengthened with a rapid and unstoppable pace.
Tensions have been running high between Tehran and Washington since last year, when Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Recently, the US has taken a quasi-warlike posture against Iran and stepped up its provocative military moves in the Middle East, among them seingind the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to the region, and the June 20 incursion of an American spy drone into the Iranian borders.
The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) shot down the advanced US-made RQ-4 Global Hawk over Iran’s territorial waters off the coastal province of Hormozgan after the unmanned aircraft breached the country’s airspace on a spying mission.
Pompeo “ready” to go to Tehran for talks
Meanwhile, U-S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday he was willing to go to Iran for talks amid rising tensions between the two sides.
He, however, repeated his past rhetoric, calling on Japan, Britain and other nations to join a maritime force to guard oil tankers sailing through the Strait of Hormuz.
Japan has defied the US call, saying that there was no change in the Tokyo’s stance that it was not considering sending its Self-Defence Forces for a US-proposed maritime coalition in the Middle East.
Last Friday, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy captured British oil tanker Stena Impero for violating international maritime laws when crossing the high-traffic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.