The Iranian defense minister recently pronounced that the Islamic Republic has “no limit for the range” of the ballistic missiles it is developing.
In making the pronouncement, General Hossein Dehqan also said that Iran is now on par with world standards for most of its weapons and military equipment, specifically, that “production of the national individual weapons and efforts to improve the quality and precision-striking power of ballistic missiles are among the defense ministry's achievements…"
One of the advanced weapons Iran has developed is a ballistic missile that deploys multiple warheads against a single target. As the government-aligned Fars News Agency reported, “This makes for an efficient area attack weapon.”
(Never mind that just three months ago, that the state-owned Iranian Press TV announced that “all these advancements on the military level are only for defensive reasons.”)
In addition, Iran has now deployed the long-awaited Russian-made, long-range S-300 missile system. The system was deployed to protect the country’s Fordo nuclear facility, which the commander of Iran’s air force calls paramount “in all circumstances.”
Western officials, who tried to block the delivery of the missile system, said that once in place, the S-300 would essentially eliminate the military option to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
The nuclear deal made with Iran and the world powers was sold to the public as a way to contain not just Iran’s nuclear weapons program, but its ballistic missile program as well.
Ballistic missiles are mainly used to deliver nuclear warheads. Under the terms of the agreement we were told that the current UN restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program would remain in effect for eight years, including forbidding Iran from testing of ballistic missiles.
Less than two months after the deal was formalized, a senior figure in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh, announced, "Some wrongly think Iran has suspended its ballistic missile programs in the last two years and has made a deal on its missile program … We will have a new ballistic missile test in the near future that will be a thorn in the eyes of our enemies."
As far as the defense minister Dehqan, commenting about the restrictions, he said, “To follow our defense programs, we don't ask permission from anyone."
After the first ballistic missile test conducted by Iran after the agreement was made, the U.S. administration backtracked, saying that the test was really not a violation of the nuclear agreement but there were “strong indications” that the test violated UN restrictions.
The second ballistic missile test came as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Israel. Painted on the two missiles (which had the capability of reaching the Jewish state) were written the word in Hebrew, “Israel should be wiped out.”
Hajizadeh said at the time, “The 1,240-mile range of our missiles is to confront the Zionist regime. IRNA, Iran's state news agency, reported the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as saying the test had Iran's enemies "shivering from the roar" of the missiles.
For his part, Biden said at the time, the U.S. would “act” if Iran broke the nuclear agreements.
Judging from its lack of action, the U.S. ostensibly does not count this as a violation of the agreement, despite clear evidence to the contrary.
Since the signing of the nuclear agreement Iran has engaged in a provocative “cat and mouse” game with the U.S.
In addition, to the ballistic missile tests, since signing the agreement:
? In September, Iran simulated a missile attack on a US aircraft carrier in an agitprop video titled “If Any War happens.”
? In October, just three days after one of the ballistic tests, Iranian state TV aired unprecedented footage of an underground missile base.
? In December, Iran tested rockets with live fire within 1,500 yards of American warships in the Strait of Hormuz
? In January, Iran test-fired an upgraded surface-to surface cruise missile in a new set of wargames code-named Velayat-94
? In January, an unarmed Iranian surveillance drone flew near U.S. and French aircraft carriers in the Gulf, managing to take “precise” photos while the ship was involved in an ongoing naval drill. An Iranian submarine was also detected in close proximity to the aircraft carriers.
? In January, Iran captured 10 U.S. sailors whose boat had strayed into Iranian territorial waters. The soldiers were humiliated and held for 15 hours. Iran has since used the incident to mocked America in videos and plays.
“Without understanding Iranian culture, it is impossible to understand what is going on,” said Harold Rhode, an expert on Islamic culture who worked for the Pentagon for 28 years, in an interview with The Algemeiner. “Nothing is in and of itself. The way negotiations work among Iranians is that an agreement as we understand it means nothing. It is nothing more than a step along the way to getting what they want.”
“From an Iranian cultural point of view, at all times there is a balance — ‘Are you giving it or are you getting it?’ … It’s simply domination; it’s simply power.”
Iran has successfully played America as the fool, challenging the U.S. to stand up to its belligerence. Every time America backs down, by either making excuses for the Islamic Republic (i.e., by redefining the deal) or ignoring their latest outrage, Iran becomes more empowered.
Sanctions relief let the Iranian genie out of the bottle. Now, the terror-supporting and oppressive regime is taking its place on the world stage unrestrained and unopposed.
Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org