On Friday, Iran test-fired a new medium-range missile, carrying details of the launch along with video footage from a camera located in the nose cone of the rocket on state television. The Khorramshahr rocket is capable of being fitted with multiple warheads and has an estimated range of 2,000 kilometres. While the rocket launch was a success, the timing of the test is certainly no coincidence, with the government in Tehran being singled out, along with the regimes of Venezuela and North Korea, for words of condemnation at the United Nations General Assembly in New York by United States President Donald Trump.
The testing of the rocket now comes as the White House administration is re-examining the international treaty signed by it, the other permanent members of the Security Council and Germany with the government in Tehran to end economic sanctions imposed over Iran’s development of a nuclear programme. Right now, the White House administration is looking for any loophole to find Iran in non-compliance of the treaty terms, and to end the US support for the treaty. Up to now, Iran has fully complied in a verifiable manner with inspections of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and there is no legitimate reason from Washington to end its support. Friday’s launch, however, provides an argument that Iran is not complying with the spirit, if not the letter, of the treaty.
That’s essentially the exact issue raised by the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, when he addressed the UN General Assembly, raising legitimate concerns over Tehran’s continued development of a ballistic missile programme. Because of Tehran’s actions and continued missile tests, further assessment and constant monitoring of Iran’s nuclear programme and commitments in line with the international treaty are absolutely necessary.
The reality is that while Tehran has reached an international agreement over its nuclear programme, it has also continued to meddle in the political affairs of nations from Yemen to Lebanon. Across the region, it is actively pursuing a disruptive agenda to meddle in Yemen by supporting Al Houthis, in Bahrain by supporting seditious elements, by interfering militarily through its support of militias in Iraq, backing the regime of President Bashar Al Assad in Syria, and supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon. It has also cosied up to Qatar to try and exert influence there. Together, the actions of the regime in Tehran are troubling, and certainly not what is expected from a near neighbour.