February 18, 2020

Iran Launches Medium-Range Missile Test

FILE PHOTO: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks live on television after casting his ballot in the Iranian presidential election in Tehran June 12, 2009. REUTERS/Caren Firouz//File Photo

Iran test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile on July 24 that likely has the capability to carry a nuclear warhead.

The Shabab-3 missile was fired from southeast Iran along the Gulf of Oman and flew a little more than 680 miles before landing east of Tehran. According to The New York Times, the missile test is likely “a political statement” from Iran that their ballistic missile program is non-negotiable.

The Trump administration has said that Iran must end their missile program; President Donald Trump exited from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in part because it didn’t address the missile program.


The missile test is the latest escalation from Iran, as over the past couple of months it has seized two British oil tankers, downed a U.S. drone and attacked to oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. has tightened sanctions on the Iranian regime in response.

Brookings Institute Foreign Policy Deputy Director Suzanne Maloney wrote on July 26 that Iran’s belligerence is part of Iran’s strategy of “deploying diplomacy and force in tandem in hopes of extricating the regime from an increasingly perilous quagmire.”

She added, “At the very least, flexing its muscles in the world’s most important energy corridor can inflate oil prices, improving Tehran’s beleaguered bottom line and complicating Trump’s appeal to his domestic base as he begins his reelection campaign. Mounting tensions may galvanize diplomatic energy from Europe and the other stakeholders to the nuclear deal, and the images of burning tankers offer a powerful warning to Iran’s neighbors of the potential consequences of further escalation. The increasing frictions amplify the gravity of the crisis for the rest of the world, while Iran’s incremental breaches of the nuclear deal provide Tehran with something to trade should an opportunity for bargaining avail itself.”