Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) test fired two ballistic missiles on Wednesday morning, the Fars and Tasnim news agencies said, defying a threat of new sanctions from the United States.
The launches followed the test firing of several missiles on Tuesday, which the U.S. State Department said it would raise at the U.N. Security Council. The U.S. legislature also said it would push for more unilateral sanctions.
Two months ago, Washington imposed sanctions against businesses and individuals linked to Iran’s missile program over a test of the medium-range Emad missile carried out in October 2015.
The two Qadr H missiles were fired from northern Iran on Wednesday hit targets in the southeast of the country 1,400 kms (870 miles) away, the agencies said.
“The missiles fired today are the results of sanctions. The sanctions helped Iran develop its missile program,” Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the IRGC, was quoted as saying by Fars.
The IRGC, a powerful force that reports directly to the supreme leader, is deeply suspicious of the United States and its allies. It maintains dozens of short and medium-range ballistic missiles, the largest stock in the Middle East.
Washington fears those missiles could be used to carry a nuclear warhead, even after Iran implemented a nuclear deal with world powers in January that imposes strict limits and checks on its disputed nuclear program.
Washington said the fresh missile tests would not violate the Iran nuclear deal itself, under which Tehran would receive relief from economic sanctions. The deal was endorsed in resolution 2231.
Iran’s missile program is subject to a U.N. Security Council resolution that calls on the Islamic Republic not to develop missiles designed to be capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Iran says its missiles are solely a conventional deterrent.