Iran’s ballistic missile launch raises concern about nuclear ambitions 

Iran has successfully launched an upgraded ballistic missile. According to the local media, it has the longest range to date among the country’s arsenal and is capable of reaching Israel and US bases in the region. 

The missile test-launch footage was broadcast on State TV, just days after Israel’s military officials had raised concerns over a potential conflict with Iran due to its advancing nuclear program. 

“Iran has made more progress in uranium enrichment than ever before. We are also closely examining other aspects of the path to nuclear capability,” Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said on May 23, 2023. 

Iran has one of the biggest missile programs in the Middle East. Its newly revealed high-mobility tactical missile is its fourth, an improved version of the ‘Khoramshahr’ ballistic missile, with a range of over 2,000 kilometers and the capability of carrying a 1,500 kilograms warhead, named ‘Khaybar’. 

The missile is named after an ancient town, now in Saudi Arabia, historically significant due to the battle where Prophet Muhammad’s army defeated a large amount of local Jewish residents and took over the city. 

“Our message to Iran’s enemies is that we will defend the country and its achievements,” Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, Iran’s defense minister declared, adding, “our message to our friends is that we want to help regional stability.” 

Restrictions placed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Iran’s nuclear program do not address missile development. However, this ballistic technology can be associated with the delivery of nuclear warheads. 

“Iran’s development, and proliferation of, ballistic missiles poses a serious threat to regional and international security and remains a significant non-proliferation challenge,” U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller commented, while France has directly accused Iran of violating a UNSC resolution. 

Despite this opposition from the United States and its ally, Iran has declared an intention to further develop its ballistic missile program, which it characterizes as a necessary measure for defense. 

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