Iran, who recently signed a nuclear agreement with the US to curb their nuclear program in exchange for a relief of international sanctions, has the world wondering if they violated the agreement with their recent missile launch. The answer is no. White House officials have confirmed Iran did not violate the nuclear deal struck between them since Iran was testing conventional weapons (Source). Although the nuclear deal was not violated, a White House official said the missile tests are “inconsistent” with UN Security Council directives. By endorsing the deal, the UN included language in the deal that stated Iran has to stop any “activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology” (Source).
A senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. (IRGC) responded and claimed “The IRGC has never accepted UN Security Council resolutions on Iran’s missile work” (Source).
The IRGC is a powerful force within Iran that reports directly to Iran’s supreme leader along with possessing dozens of short and medium range ballistic missiles (Source). They have asserted the missile testing is only a conventional deterrent against their sworn enemy: Israel. However, Iran has further escalated tensions between them and the state of Israel. On Wednesday, Iran fired 2 ballistic missiles with the phrase “Israel must be wiped out” on them, according to an Iranian news agency (Source). This comes at a time when Vice President of the US, Joe Biden was on a visit to the Jewish state. The US is one of Israel’s most crucial allies because the government supplies them with 3 billion dollars of military grants annually. Not surprisingly, that is exactly what Joe Biden was in Israel for: finding common ground on future US grants to Israel. Since Israel is nervous and intimidated by Iran’s arms enhancement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked for an increase in annual grants from anywhere between 4-4.5 billion dollars (Source). US officials have asked for a significantly less number, telling the Israelis they only want to contribute 3.7 billion dollars annually.
According to Brigadier General Amir Al Hajizadeh, a senior commander in the IRGC, also said: Iran has no intention of starting a war, “but the Zionist regime is our enemy and we do not trust American officials”(Source).
With everyone’s eyes on Syria, Iraq, and increasingly Libya, a larger scale conflict could ensue in the Middle East once again. Iran has the largest stockpile of ballistic missiles in the Middle East (Source) and Israel is clearly worried about the emergence of Iran on the international stage. As expected, whether or not they like it, the US is going to be involved in this potential conflict. Israel relies too much on the US for propping up its military as shown by Netanyahu’s request to increase annual military grants to Israel. Iran has shown they are extremely committed to keeping a large domestic missile program, but it remains to be seen what the US and Israel are going to do about it.
Contributed by R.A.