US denounces Iran missile test

The United States denounced Iran’s claimed test of a new medium-range missile on Wednesday and warned Tehran to halt its ballistic missile programme “immediately” amid a nuclear dispute with the West.

“Iran’s development of ballistic missiles is contrary to United Nations Security Council resolutions and completely inconsistent with Iran’s obligations to the world,” said White House spokesperson Gordon Johndroe.

Johndroe said the United States and its partners in talks with Iran over its suspect nuclear programme “are committed to a diplomatic path” and to “generous” rewards if the Islamic republic freezes its uranium-enrichment activities.

“Iran should also refrain from further missile tests if they truly seek to gain the trust of the world. The Iranian regime should stop the development of ballistic missiles, which could be used as a delivery vehicle for a potential nuclear weapon, immediately,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

He spoke after Iran said it had test-fired a new generation of surface-to-surface missile that has a range similar to the existing Shahab-3, which can reach arch-enemy Israel and even southern Europe.

“The Defence Ministry’s experts … succeeded in testing a new generation of ground-to-ground missile,” Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.

State television broadcast the launch of a missile similar in size to the Shahab-3.

“The Iranian regime only furthers the isolation of the Iranian people from the international community when it engages in this sort of activity,” said Johndroe. — AFP

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