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IRAN TESTS LONG-RANGE MISSILE...

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IRAN TESTS LONG-RANGE MISSILE...

Post by Harry on Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:10 am

Iran Tests Long-Range Missile, Possibly Violating Nuclear Accord

By THOMAS ERDBRINKOCT. 11, 2015

TEHRAN — Iran tested a new guided long-range ballistic missile on Sunday, hours before Parliament, in a rowdy session, approved the generalities of the nuclear agreement reached in July between Iran and world powers, the state news agency IRNA reported.

The missile launch may have violated the terms of the agreement, reached in Vienna with six world powers. According to some readings of the deal, it placed restrictions on Iran’s ambitious missile program.

Experts have been debating the interpretation of a United Nations Security Council resolution, adopted a few days after the accord was agreed upon, that bars Iran from developing missiles “designed to carry nuclear warheads.”

Hard-line Iranian officials had for months been demanding new missile tests, a common practice before the negotiations over the country’s nuclear program began in 2013.

The missile — named Emad, or pillar — is a step up from Iran’s Shahab-3 missiles because it can be guided toward its target, the Iranian defense minister, Hossein Dehghan, told the semiofficial Fars news agency. In recent decades, with Iran’s air force plagued by economic sanctions and other restrictions, the country has invested heavily in its nuclear program and has produced missiles that can reach as far as Europe.

“We don’t seek permission from anyone to strengthen our defense and missile capabilities,” Mr. Dehghan said.

Also on Sunday, members of Parliament voted in favor of a bill approving the generalities of the nuclear agreement, but they had been denied information on its details. State television broadcast the session using only audio and archived images of Parliament.

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, who had gone to Parliament to defend the deal, said in a speech that a member had threatened to kill him and bury his body “in the cement of the Arak heavy-water reactor.”

Under the nuclear agreement, a heavy-water plant in Arak will be redesigned and turned into a relatively less dangerous light-water reactor. The threat, which sounded like something from an American gangster film, was made in front of witnesses by a hard-line representative, Ruhollah Hosseinian, according to reports.

The bill allows the government to stop carrying out the nuclear agreement if the six world powers fail to lift sanctions.

Iranian officials predict that the remaining disagreements between the country and the International Atomic Energy Agency will be resolved by the end of the year, clearing the way for the first sanctions to be lifted. Restrictions on financial transfers will be among the first sanctions to go, according to the agreement, but Iranian hard-liners warn that the United States will keep some of the restrictions in place.

A version of this article appears in print on October 12, 2015, on page A7 of the New York edition with the headline: Iran Missile Test May Have Violated Accord. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

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