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IRGC Threatens To Increase Missile Range, Says Houthis Might 'Use Their Weapons'

A long range Iranian Qadr missile launched at an undisclosed location in Iran, March 9, 2016
A long range Iranian Qadr missile launched at an undisclosed location in Iran, March 9, 2016

Deputy Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has threatened that if Europeans interfere in Iran’s ballistic missile program, his country will extend the range of its missiles beyond the current 2,000 kilometers.

He has also said it is possible that Yemenis under changing conditions, might use their missiles against Saudi Arabia.

“We are telling European countries, that if until now we have kept the range of our missiles to 2,000 kilometers, it is not for lack of technology…it is because each action has a strategic logic; the range of our missiles will extend to wherever there is a threat”, General Hossein Salami told a state television program.

“Until now, we felt Europe is not a threat and we did not extend the range of our missiles to Europe. But if Europe wants to be threatened, the range of missiles will be extended.” He added that the Islamic Republic is considerate and Europe should also be observant.

IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari announced in October that Supreme Leader ayatollah Ali Khamenei has limited the range of Iranian missiles.

“Our missiles have a 2,000-kilometer range, based on a limit prescribed by the commander in chief (Khamenei)”.

French President Emmanuel Macron has adopted a tough position on Iran’s ballistic missile program in recent weeks, suggesting that it should be the subject of negotiations, much like the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

Earlier this month, Macron said that either Iran negotiates or new sanctions become a distinct possibility.

Brigadier General Hossein Salami, second-in-command of IRGC.
Brigadier General Hossein Salami, second-in-command of IRGC.

Macron’s foray into the subject was seen as a gesture toward President Donald Trump, who has refused to re-certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, as U.S. law demands the president to do every three months.

While refusing to re-certify, Trump mentioned Iran’s missile program as one reason why he believes Iran has not respected “the spirit” of the nuclear deal.

Iran’s missile program was always a side-topic in the nuclear negotiations, but by agreement of the sides to stick to the nuclear issues, the missiles were not part of the final agreement.

However, when the United Nations was putting its seal of approval on the deal, it mentioned the missile program in its resolution 2231, calling on Iran not to work on developing any missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Now, when the U.S. or others cite resolutions 2231, Iran insists its program excludes the development of nuclear capable missiles.

In another part of his remarks, Salami said “Yemenis had a lot of missiles but abiding by some considerations, they refrained from massive use against Saudi Arabia, but it is possible for conditions to become such that they use their weapons”.

At the same time, Salami repeated Iran’s position that it has never supplied missiles to its allies in Yemen.

Salami insisted that Yemen’s Houthi rebels “in a scientific leap have improved the range and accuracy of their missiles to such an extent that despite the activation of all [Saudi] Patriots they hit their targets.”

A missile was fired from Yemen on November 4, targeting Riyadh’s international airport. Later, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. accused Iran of supplying the missile to Houthi rebels. Riyadh also said that this act was a declaration of war by Tehran.